Your alarm goes off. Instead of waking up refreshed and energized, a very different feeling kicks in — anxiety.
Anxiety is like an unwelcome visitor popping in when you least expect it. When you experience anxious thoughts or feelings in the morning, it robs your peace of mind and sets the tone for your whole day. Why do you wake up with butterflies in your stomach? How can you get rid of these feelings? Here are some ways you can address morning anxiety and improve your overall outlook for the day.
What Is Morning Anxiety?
Morning anxiety is not a medical term. It simply describes waking up with feelings of worry or excessive stress. There’s a huge difference between not looking forward to heading into work and morning anxiety. Everyone dreads giving a presentation or receiving a performance review. Anxiety in the morning has some very distinct physical signs:
- Pounding or racing heart
- Increased jitteriness
- Sense of worry for no apparent reason
- Feeling on edge, but not knowing why
- Fatigue or exhaustion even if you had a full night’s rest
What Causes Morning Anxiety?
There is almost an infinite number of reasons why some people wake up anxious. However, there seem to be several main culprits that contribute to morning anxiety:
- The cortisol awakening response (CAR): This stress hormone is at its highest in the first hour of waking for those with excessive stress in their lives.
- Thinking about the future: Whether it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours down the road, thinking about what lies ahead and mulling it over can get your mind racing and lead to anxious thoughts.
- What you eat or drink first thing: Caffeine and foods high in sugar can increase anxiety symptoms.
- Low blood sugar: If you haven’t had enough to eat, this can also make anxiety worse.
- Chronic stress: Feeling stressed before you go to bed makes it more likely you’ll wake up feeling this way.
- Anxiety disorder: Morning anxiety could indicate that you have an underlying anxiety disorder.
How to Reduce Anxiety in the Morning
Thankfully, there are techniques you can practice in the morning to help you better deal with whatever is causing your anxiety.
Get Up and Get Moving
Whether it’s a brisk morning walk or a visit to your local gym, physical activity is one of the best ways to lift your mood in the morning. If you find yourself dealing with an excessive amount of worry in those early hours, try to exercise at least five days a week for about 30 minutes each session.
Practice Mindfulness, Meditate or Pray
Meditation, mindfulness and prayer all have similar goals — get your mind off future worries and focus on the present. Try to put yourself in a mindful state when you first wake up. Objectively observe your feelings, thoughts and bodily state while trying not to react to them. Take some deep breaths, turning your focus away from what you can’t control and turning it toward what you can.
Train Your Mind
Sometimes the best way to defeat anxiety is to challenge negative thinking and train your mind towards optimism. Keep a journal or notebook by your bed. Write down everything you are grateful for. Jot down a few upcoming things you’re excited about. Record good things that have happened to you. This will help keep you focused on positivity.
Don’t Let Anxiety Impact Your Recovery
Stress and anxiety are normal parts of life. However, chronic worry can have a detrimental effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being, especially if you struggle with addiction. If you need help, 7 Summit Pathways is here for you.
We understand that issues like anxiety or depression often serve as catalysts for addiction. Our team of interdisciplinary specialists addresses not only the addiction but also any underlying conditions that may have triggered your substance use.