6 Easy Steps to Calm Morning Anxiety (and Wake Up Refreshed)

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If are someone who wakes up with anxiety, then you’re at the right place.

In this guide you’ll learn:

  • Why you have morning anxiety
  • What causes morning anxiety
  • The symptoms of morning anxiety
  • And how to get rid of it quickly!

Ready? Let”s dive in!

Why do I have anxiety in the morning?

I know how terrible it feels to open your eyes in the morning after such a peaceful sleep… to then flood your body immediately with stress and worry. And before you know, the cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) both rush through your body and make you feel on edge… again.

Do you know why you feel so peaceful when you sleep? It is because you don’t give your attention (and therefore also your energy) to all your problems, issues and stressors in the outer world, but pay all your attention to your inner world. But as soon as you open your eyes, your energy gets scattered and invested in all your “problems”. 

“I have so much work to do today! Can I pay my bills? Will I pass my exams?! Why do I feel so on edge!?”

Anxiety happens as a reaction to excess stress and worries. And as soon as you open your eyes and start to worry, your cortisol levels shoot up and you feel anxiety. Some people feel “just” stress, and others who worry a bit more for longer periods of time can experience anxiety.

But let it be clear that higher cortisol in the morning is not a bad thing at all. This substance helps you wake up and get ready for the day. It only becomes a problem when you release SO MUCH, that you feel on edge and anxious.

What causes anxiety in the morning?

They say that self-awareness is the first step to change. To overcome your anxiety, it could be wise to try to identify what causes your anxiety in your daily life. You don’t need to know this in specific detail (as that is just more worry on top of all your worries).

Just a general idea of what could make you anxious is enough. And if that’s hard to identify, don’t worry and skip to the next paragraph. 

If you want to get an idea of where your anxiety might originate, simply read these stressors and see if anything resonates. This often causes morning anxiety:

#1 Stress at work, home or school

Do you feel stressed when you think about everything you have to do at work, at home or at school? Do you feel a lot of worry come up when you think about these areas of your life? 

#2 Relationship troubles

Do you get anxious when you think about your relationship? Do you get scared, fearful or simply sad when you think about your lover, or the absence of love in your life? 

#3 Life events

Many life events can cause anxiety. Think about moving out (which is stressful, I can tell you that), moving to a new city, going to a new school or getting a new job. And what about if someone close to you passes away? These life events can cause a lot of worry and anxiety.

#4 Financial issues

Do you panic when you think about money? Do you worry that you’ll never have enough? Or do you worry about not being able to spend money the way you want? Financial issues are one of the most common symptoms of anxiety.

#5 Physical and/or mental health issues

Are you scared of a tight chest? A racing heart? Or that headache you have all the time? Most of the time these issues are innocent, but when you’re anxious you label these sensations in your body as the worst-case scenarios. 

What are the symptoms of morning anxiety?

Of course, you want to know if you are dealing with morning anxiety or something else. Here is a brief overview of the most common symptoms of morning anxiety:

#1 Diarrhea

This is the symptom (I have to admit) I suffered most from. Every morning when I was anxious, I felt stomach cramps and suddenly had to go to the toilet. Where was all this poop coming from? I still don’t know. The only thing I knew was that it was confronting, awful and made me more stressed than I was. Because every time I became anxious, I began to worry about getting diarrhea

#2 Stomach aches

Like diarrhea, stomach aches are also very common for people who suffer from morning anxiety. Your fight or flight system is working a little too hard when you are anxious and for some people that means constipation (they stop pooping) or the opposite (diarrhea). 

#3 Shivers

Weird sensations in your hands, shivers, shaking and having it too warm or cold are also very common symptoms of morning anxiety. A lot of cortisol and adrenaline (the chemicals of the fight and flight response) are in your body, which is the reason you can shiver.

#4 Feeling restless and on edge

Because your body is on high alert (which anxiety actually is) it thinks there is a lot of danger in your environment. Because you are on high alert, you might feel restless and on edge. This makes you find it difficult to relax. Oh… and don’t you agree that it is annoying when people say to you: “Just relax a bit more.” It’s quite difficult when you’re anxious!

#5 Irritability and fatigue

Because you are on high alert, you might become more irritable and tired. Being in this anxious state takes a lot of energy, which explains why you might feel more tired than normal. 

#6 Common physical symptoms

Other physical symptoms are muscle tension (like a tight chest), higher than normal heart rate or difficulty breathing. 

#7 Common mental symptoms

Some common mental symptoms are difficulty concentrating. Try reading a book when you’re anxious… it’s almost impossible! Your mind wants you to look for danger in your environment instead because it is anxious. Other symptoms are having irrational thoughts, exaggerations and difficulty controlling the worry or nervousness.

How to get rid of anxiety in the morning?

Of course, you now want to know how to get rid of morning anxiety. You want to start your day as a “normal” human being without worry. But relax, you are normal. Your fight or flight response is just working a bit too well. Nevertheless, I, first of all, recommend to read these books on anxiety… and second, take a look at the following solutions for morning anxiety:

#1 Be compassionate towards your anxiety

The biggest mistake I see my clients make is that they worry about worry, fight their anxiety and try to suppress their feelings. This is a business class ticket to more anxiety and panic. Why? Because you show your mind that anxiety is something to be scared of. Whenever you feel anxious: respond with compassion and love. Say to yourself it’s OK to feel anxious and nothing bad will happen. This article helps you to change your response fast.

#2 Meditate on gratitude

Every morning I sit for 20 minutes with myself and try to feel grateful for a few things in my life. They can be small or big things. Whatever I try to feel grateful for: I don’t think gratitude, I feel it. I let my chest warm up with love and joy and prime my mind to find more things to be grateful for during my day. I cannot stress enough that a gratitude routine helped me a lot to overcome my morning anxiety.

#3 Make a to-do list the day before

This speaks for itself. Don’t make to-do lists in the morning and stress about everything you have to do. Make a to-do list the day before, so you don’t have to think about everything you need to do in the morning. 

#4 Pay attention to your self-talk

How do you talk to yourself in the morning? Do you have thoughts like: “Oh, god another day with so many things to do! How do I handle this?” Or do you have thoughts like: “Busy day today, but I can perfectly cope with whatever comes on my path?”

Mind the words and images you make in your head, because they have an immediate effect on your body. Positive words and images, equal positive feelings… and the other way around.

#5 Don’t drink coffee

Coffee doesn’t cause anxiety, but it makes you feel on high alert (which is what anxiety does as well). Try to drink something else or a coffee without caffeine. 

#6 Try to cope with your problems better

How do you cope with your problems? Do you push everything away in the hope it disappears? Or do you let your feelings come up when they arise? Most people push their feelings away in the hope they go away. They look away, don’t face their problems and think that the longer they wait, the better the situation will become.


But in the end… all your feelings will come up one day, so it would be better to deal with them today. This means letting feelings come up to let them out. This destresses your nervous system and can rapidly ease your anxiety.

If you want to take the next step and ease your anxiety, make sure you watch the limited time free training down below where I teach you how to say goodbye to your anxiety.

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Author: Wouter Manders

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on overcoming their anxiety, out of first hand experience. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their road to having less anxiety.

About Wouter

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on freeing themselves from anxiety. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their journey towards less anxiety.

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