Sometimes I wake up in the morning with that familiar feeling of unexplained dread. If you have anxiety, you probably know the feeling well. It’s a suffocating feeling, a feeling like something terrible is about to happen and you have no idea what, or why. Morning anxiety is especially difficult for me because I find that it can set the tone for the rest of my day, and sometimes it takes me until dinner time to get rid of that awful feeling. The days when I don’t have anxiety in the morning are typically much better and even if I do have some panic or anxiety later in the day it will be short lived. The morning is so important to me because I know that when I have a good morning, it will set me up for a productive and calm day.
So, how do we stop morning anxiety?
Over the past three months as I’ve gotten acclimated to some new medications, I’ve had periods of high anxiety that mostly occur in the morning. I’ve found a few things that have helped me, and maybe they will help you too. Keep in mind, these are not quick fixes – they are mindset shifts, changes to your way of thinking. This is the hard way to stop anxiety, because even when medication controls the physical symptoms of anxiety, the psychological symptoms can still remain!
Stop Checking on your Anxiety
After having a few mornings in a row of morning panic attacks, I started being in the habit of waking up every day and checking in with myself to see if I was anxious or not. This was a bad idea. The act of asking myself, “Am I anxious today?”, was actually making me more anxious. I’ve learned that I should avoid this checking behavior throughout the day as well. The less you think about your anxiety, and the less you worry about it, the more likely it is to leave you alone. Checking on it gives the anxiety more power!
Find a Morning Affirmation
Mine is, “I am strong, and I can handle anything that happens today”, but you can make up your own. As soon as I wake up I start repeating this to myself, over and over until I actually FEEL it. Words have power, and these words help to stop my morning anxiety before it even starts and put me on the path to a great day.
When we wake up but aren’t well-rested, that can be an automatic trigger for anxiety. Try to avoid that! You may need to change up your sleep habits. Maybe you need more sleep, or a calmer area to sleep in. Try aromatherapy, or sound therapy to promote restorative sleep. If you suspect that you may have a problem like sleep apnea, be sure to bring that up to your doctor and get tested and/or treated. Many people find that treating sleep apnea changes their lives, and can be particularly helpful for improving mental health symptoms.
I’m wishing you great mornings (and afternoons and evenings!) going forward!
Let me know in the comments: Are mornings tough for you? What tips do you have for combating morning anxiety?