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Have you ever woken up in the morning with a voice in your head telling you to worry about different things?
It is that irrefutably real voice that constantly tells you that you're worthless and stupid, and that no matter how hard you try, you are going to mess up all important things.
Does this voice go away? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Morning anxiety – the medical term for the condition – is America's silent epidemic (anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US), but there are a number of ways you can deal with it. However, these steps require time and patience.
In this article, we will jot down some simple steps that will help you get rid of anxiety and become a happier person.
Side note: One way to reduce anxiety is to build the mindfulness habit. If you're interested to learn more, check out the book Declutter Your Mind to learn how to stop worrying and reduce anxiety.
What You Will Learn
Don't Let Anxiety Ruin Your Day
It is alright to be a little anxious about something that you are looking forward to. It is also completely okay to save for the future. It is commendable to make provisions for uncertainty in your life – health-related problems, layoffs at work, etc. But you don't have to allow these emotions to control you. The key is to discipline your emotions and don't let them paralyze you.
The problem with many people is that they look for quick results and don't want to invest in self-care. Such people may be in for a rude awakening if they think there is a one-size-fits-all strategy to cope with anxiety.
The treatment plan of every person is tailored according to their needs. What worked for you may yield no results for someone else. Regardless of what worked for a person, it is a proven fact that anxiety is a manageable condition, and with proper care, you can minimize morning anxiety. Here are some ways that can you help minimize morning anxiety.
As a simple technique to deal with stress and anxiety, meditation is based on “relaxation response.” It consists of the silent repetition of a phrase, sound, or word while sitting quietly with a good posture in a place free of distractions for at least 10 to 20 minutes.
Start your day with 10 minutes of solitude and give yourself the gift of tranquility and serenity. Meditation will help you calm your nerves and get through the day with a sense of hope and positivity. (For more on this, read this article on the effects of meditation.)
2. Go to Bed Early
The most efficient way to deal with your anxiety is to get a good night’s sleep. Staying up all night and sleeping three hours before the alarm goes off will cause sleep deprivation, which is one of the leading causes of anxiety among people. Train yourself to sleep for at least seven hours everey night. This will help you release the stress of the full day and wake up with positive energy in the morning.
3. Take a Cold Shower
Even though this may sound a bit surprising, cold shower therapy is a good way to treat anxiety. Modern research suggests that this ancient Ayurvedic remedy may stimulate the blue spot of the brain or locus ceruleous – the brain's primary source of noradrenaline.
This biochemical plays a crucial role in de-stressing the mind. Its working is based on the following principle: a hostile factor – icy cold shower – causes stress to the body, which then reacts by stimulating a healing response that can lower the level of stress.
Cold shower increases the circulation of blood through your body, strengthens the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and contracts your muscles to eliminate poisonous wastes and toxins. After taking your morning showers – at moderate temperature – take a cold shower for two to three minutes daily.
4. Make Your Bed
The task of making the bed may seem dispensable, but it is therapeutic because it allows you to complete a task successfully. This sense of accomplishment creates momentum for the rest of your day, where you will continue to be more productive.
Writing your anxious thoughts in a diary the first thing in the morning is might seem like a ridiculous idea at first. And those who have never maintained a diary or a journal will doubt whether they can manage all the writing. However, you need to learn about the power of journaling to better understand the many benefits that this technique offers when it comes to getting rid of your morning anxiety.
When you write your anxious ruminations – which are the thoughts that you keep playing in your head over and over – on a piece of paper, you are actually detaching yourself from these thoughts. The abstract thoughts that were like a bee in the bonnet have now found a home and won't dominate your mind anymore.
In addition, after you have written your thoughts, you are in a better position to analyze them constructively. This can help you identify your triggers or stressors so that you can eliminate them from your life. The level of clarity that you achieve through dumping your negative thoughts on a piece of paper is unparalleled, and it plays an important role in alleviating your morning anxiety.
6. The List of Most Important Things (MITs)
The lack of clarity in your day is often the biggest cause of anxiety. You have to begin your day by defining the tasks that you intend to complete. These tasks can be both work and home-related. When you don't have a clear plan of action in front of you, your brain keeps buckling under the cognitive load caused by increased decision making. By writing down the list of important tasks that you need to do in the day, you can take control of your day.
You have to begin your day by writing down the most important things that you intend to complete.
And what should you do if these tasks make you anxious? There is a solution for this as well. Once you have prioritized your most important tasks, you have to block off at least 90 minutes of time to focus exclusively on the chores that needs to be completed first.
This is also called the 90-1-90 rule which says that you have to dedicate between 30 to 90 minutes of your time to a specific task. Keep your phone on the airplane mode or switch it off to avoid distractions. Eliminating this distraction will allow you to better focus on the task at hand.
Regular exercise is also a great way to get rid of morning anxiety. Any sort of physical activity is good for releasing toxic wastes from your body and uplifting your mood. There is scientific evidence to back the claim that exercise helps people get rid of morning anxiety. It is important to find out how workouts reduce anxiety and which exercise you should do for alleviating this issue.
Exercises that push your heart rate up are the best anxiety-busters. So, anything from swimming and high intensity running to weightlifting that makes you breathe hard or break a sweat is good for reducing the levels of stress hormones of your body. Aerobics is the best way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety almost immediately. People with anxiety may witness a dip in symptoms 90 minutes after a 20-minute workout session.
A series of workout sessions spanning over 30 minutes are more fruitful at reducing anxiety levels than those that are within half an hour. But these sessions are effective if they are carried out for a definite period of time. For example, those people who had these sessions for only three months were less anxious than those who had it for an indefinite period.
It is a well-established fact that yoga is a good way to manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Besides its physical benefits, yoga also has a calming effect that helps in lowering a person's blood pressure and reducing his/her heart rate.
A regular session of yoga is an effective way to reduce morning anxiety. If you want immediate results, try doing yoga between 5:30 and 6:30 am. Waking up early in the morning and doing some physical activity before heading out for work is also a good way to reduce morning anxiety.
8. Practice Gratitude
You often say a generic statement that you are happy for your family and friends. The exercise of practicing gratitude goes beyond that. Researcher Dr. Emmons has concluded that practicing gratitude is an effective way of reducing anxiety.
The main thing, however, is that you don't have to repeat that you are grateful for your family, kids, or God. The key is to focus on the small details of your life and be thankful for them. This is a practice that is employed by billionaires and monks alike to reduce their levels of anxiety.
How Does Anxiety Affect Your Body
We have already established that morning anxiety is normally characterized by excessive and constant worrying. If you have this condition, you may often find yourself struggling to leave your bed in the morning.
Most of the time, you just give in, pull the covers, and call in sick at work. Anxiety has a devastating impact on the overall health of a person. Besides affecting a person's sleep and eating schedules, anxiety also has a negative impact on a person's physical health. People with anxiety will sometime have physical symptoms such as abdominal pain, increased heart rate, and headache.
If people have distress in their life, this distress often comes out in a physical way. The people will complain about low energy or fatigue. The condition is easy to diagnose and even easier to manage. There are effective therapies and medications that help people overcome the problem. In addition, things like good sleep and regular exercise also play a vital role in minimizing morning anxiety.
Why Do You Have Anxiety?
You are likely to wake up with morning anxiety if you go to bed worrying over something.
We are living in a highly competitive world which is filled with stressors – slowing economy, rising prices, and a lack of job opportunities – that makes the living difficult. In the past, people will live in closely knitted communities. They had their parents, siblings, grandparents, friends and other family members to rely on. Be it a financial issue or the loss of a loved one, community members would come in and spend some time with the person, helping them cope with the problem in an effective manner.
Today, the culture of living alone has led to emotional and social isolation which compels people to deal with all kind of distresses on their own. It is not a surprising fact that anxiety is not limited to adults. Certain types of anxiety – separation anxiety, social anxiety, and specific phobia – are quite common in children. Kids also have to struggle with different pressures.
If you go to bed worrying or had anxious thoughts throughout your sleep, you are likely to wake up with morning anxiety. The stress hormones released in response to stress or fear are high in number in the first hour of waking among people with a great deal of stress in their lives. This is why you may experience an increased level of anxiety in the morning.
Wrapping It Up
For dealing with morning anxiety, you have to resolve to take control of your emotions. You can remain stuck in the rut if you don't consciously try to get rid of anxious thoughts that keep distracting you from the important tasks that you have to complete during the day.
Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce anxiety then be sure to check out the book Declutter Your Mind to learn how to stop worrying and reduce anxiety.
Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.