Today you’ll learn how to stop waking up with anxiety.
Specifically, you’ll learn why you are anxious in the morning and which 5 tips will help you.
Let’s dive right in!
This is why you are more anxious in the morning…
There are two explanations for why you are more anxious in the morning. The first one is that you could be in the habit of opening your eyes and immediately start thinking about all the stressors in your life.
You think about your to-do list, the laundry, taking care of someone, your work and all the things you had to do yesterday. Or you worry about more severe stressors like finances and health. Healthline explains it as waking up with feelings of stress and worry… which is the last thing you want after a night of rest!
When you worry, you create a spike in cortisol, which causes you to feel on edge and stressed out, and this sometimes even leads to an anxiety attack upon waking.
The second reason why you could be anxious in the morning, is because you could be more sensitive to cortisol. Like I said above, cortisol is the “stress” hormone that makes you feel on edge. But did you know that your cortisol levels spike after 30-45 minutes upon waking? This is called the CAR (Cortisol Awakening Response).
Because of these higher cortisol levels, you could be more prone to stress in the morning. And if you worry about your stress and anxious symptoms, you could even get more anxious.
So… time for the tips!
How to quickly calm anxiety in the morning
Tip #1. Have a morning routine
There is nothing worse than waking up… feeling stressed… and being all over the place. If you struggle with morning anxiety, the last thing that you want is a chaotic morning that is all over the place. This only increases your anxiety.
Try to outline a morning routine that you can stick to. This should be a morning routine that eases your anxiety, eliminates the chaos and helps you not overthink every single morning. When you have a morning routine, you have a system to start your day, which saves you a lot of energy from your anxious brain.
What could you do to start your morning in the right way? Could this be meditating for 20 minutes? Doing a guided relaxation? Or reading some pages of your favourite book?
I personally like to meditate for 20 minutes, to then read something for 30 minutes with a cup of decaf coffee.
The crazy thing is… I now even look forward to these mornings!
Tip #2. Meditate in the morning
Something I found extremely useful to ease my morning anxiety was meditating in the morning. What I noticed is that whenever I feel tired or sleepy… the entire world feels just twice as heavy.
My to-do’s seem like an impossible amount of work and everything in my life seems to stress me out.
But when I allow myself to wake up and raise my energy levels with meditation… the energy I have internally increases, until I feel I am capable of managing the “outer world”.
Sounds spiritual and strange, but it’s true. The more energy you have, the less overwhelming the world seems to be.
To raise my energy levels in the morning I use a 20-minute guided meditation where I focus on gratitude, kindness, and love. These expanded states are the opposite of anxiety… and it is how I want to start my day.
Not with anxiety, but love and gratitude when I wake up.
Tip #3. Work on the cause of your anxiety
Often, your anxiety and anxiety attacks, seem to pop up out of nowhere without a clear trigger. You just became anxious and hopelessly try to find the cause of your anxious feelings. But anxiety can either be caused by trauma or long-term stress.
You probably deal with the last. A big part of this built-up stress is caused by worrying too much for a long time. This worrying has a massive impact on your body and eventually makes your body sensitive to stress.
Because your mind believes you are in danger… because worry is perceived as “caution” and “danger” by your mind.
If you want to overcome your anxiety, always work on reducing your stressors, like worry, being critical to yourself and being non-forgiving. This helps you make your body less sensitive to stressors. And on the other hand, try to increase engaging activities like meeting with friends, laughing or doing something you love.
I know doing that can feel extremely difficult, as it was for me, but simply being aware of it is the first step to change.
If you want to learn how to rapidly ease your anxiety, then download my FREE PDF where I teach you how to do so.
Tip #4. Eliminate alcohol and caffeine
People often make the mistake of blaming alcohol and caffeine for their cause of anxiety and anxiety attacks. Alcohol and caffeine do not cause anxiety. What they do cause instead is similar symptoms of anxiety… and your anxious mind freaks out when it senses these symptoms, which can lead to an anxiety attack upon waking.
You have to understand that anxiety is not about eliminating symptoms and never feeling anxious again. It’s about responding to your anxiety in a better way. And when you learn how to respond in a better way… the symptoms will become less and less.
But of course, we can and should do our best to eliminate potential triggers of anxiety wherever we can. This is why I recommend you to eliminate alcohol and caffeine.
When you eliminate these two drinks you will eliminate some of your anxious symptoms, which makes your anxious mind less likely to freak out and decreases your chances of an anxiety attack upon waking.
Tip #5. Change your response to anxiety
After I read the DARE Response from Barry McDonagh, I had a big epiphany that helped me heal my anxiety. It was the sentence I wrote in the tip above:
“Healing your anxiety doesn’t mean the absence of anxious sensations… but responding to them in a better way.”
Your ability to heal yourself from anxiety is to learn how to be comfortable in your anxious discomfort. It sounds strange and you might think:
“Wouter, you want me to just allow anxiety? I mean… I don’t want to feel it anymore! Do you say the cure is in just allowing it?! That doesn’t seem to solve it!”
I know how counterintuitive it seems, but this is what I mean:
When you get anxious and you respond with resistance, anger and frustration… you only fuel the anxiety, until it spirals out of control and can lead to an anxiety attack. When you allow it and drop the resistance, you learn not to freak out when you are anxious.
You allow your body to make you feel anxious, instead of adding fuel to the fire. This results in your body resetting itself and soon you notice the sensations fading away. This helps you not get a full-blown panic attack upon waking.
When you do this for long enough, the body can reset itself, the symptoms will decrease in intensity… and when you work on eliminating stressors you are well on your way to healing anxiety and anxiety attacks upon waking.
If you want to learn more about overcoming anxiety, watch my FREE Training where you learn the 3 worst mistakes anxious people make and what to do instead!
I hope that after this article you gained more knowledge about how morning anxiety happens and how the five tips above could help you with easing your morning anxiety. You now know how important it is to have a morning routine, to meditate, and work on the causes of your morning anxiety.
You’ve also learned the importance of skipping alcohol and caffeine and changing your response to anxiety. Changing your response is the best thing you can do to overcome your anxiety, something you can learn in the FREE training down below.
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