If you are like many that struggle with anxiety, waking up in the mornings can be dreadful. Unlike those who don't suffer from anxiety or mental health issues, anxiety sufferers have a hard time feeling like every day is a new day.
Do you wake up in a fog, feeling just as tired as you did when you went to bed? Do you immediately begin to fear the inevitable as the feeling creeps into your stomach and throat? If so, you may need a morning routine for anxiety relief.
What is Anxiety?
First things first, in order to combat anxiety, you have to know what it is and what can trigger it. Anxiety, in a nutshell, is your body’s natural response to stress. Even though it can feel very unnatural.
It is the feeling of fear or apprehension you get about what is about to come. Many times, this feeling is subconscious. However, if you are feeling anxious all the time or it lasts for longer than 6-months, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Which type of anxiety is normal?
It is normal for you to feel anxious about starting a new job, taking a test, or even moving to a new place. This type of anxiety can be hard, but it motivates you. This is the kind of anxiety comes and goes.
Anxiety disorders, however, can cause you to stop doing things you enjoy. The fear is so intense that it can become debilitating. In fact, people with anxiety disorders can be afraid to get into an elevator, make a phone call, or even leave their home.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety feels different for everyone. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to feeling like you can’t breathe. Here are some of the symptoms you may experience:
- An increase in your heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
If you feel you have an anxiety issue, there are steps you can take to help combat that anxiety in the morning.
Best Morning Routine for Anxiety Relief
Waking up with anxiety is one of the worst feelings in the world. Not to mention you probably went to sleep with anxiety, too. If anxiety is ruining your life, this is best morning routine for anxiety relief.
1. Wake Up Earlier
One of the reasons you may feel anxious in the morning is because you feel rushed. Waking up earlier is a great way to get ready at a slower, more peaceful pace.
When you wake up earlier, you have more time to focus on things like self-care (which will be a part of your morning routine for anxiety relief).
If you are rushing around and then flying out of the door every morning, start waking up between 5:30a – 6:30a depending on when you have to leave.
You want to wake up a couple of hours before you need to be somewhere. And, remember, start small and build up.
2. Make Your Bed
No, I am not trying to be your mother here. But, your mom knew that making your bed in the morning was a way to successfully accomplish your first task of the day.
When you start out with completing one task, it builds momentum for you to accomplish more throughout the day.
Have you ever noticed how when you get something accomplished like washing the dishes that you have to then wipe the counters, then sweep the floor, and it just keeps going?
Well, once we get that first thing knocked out of the way, we feel good about ourselves and are able to keep going working on more tasks.
Making your bed is the first step to completing all the tasks you have for the day.
3. Take a Few to Meditate or Pray
Some people prefer to pray where others would rather meditate. Either of these quiets your mind and focusses you on something other than your stress and anxiety. So, whatever you choose to do, do it with your full heart.
Why Should You Take a Minute to Meditate or Pray?
If you feel like meditation feels like some kind of hippie mumbo jumbo, take a moment to look at a study done by the Harvard Medical School. They found that mindfulness meditation can actually help ease psychological stress such as anxiety, depression, and pain.
What is crazy about prayer or meditation is that the more you do it, the more you realize how much chatter you actually have going on in your head all day long.
Meditation helps you to feel calmer, gives you more clarity of thought and emotions, and helps you to be present at the moment.
Being present in the moment teaches your body to focus on the now instead of worrying about the what ifs. If you are looking for something that can guide you through your meditation process, here are some great resources:
- Mindful.org: Here you can learn how to meditate on your own and follow a simple meditation practice.
- Headspace: You can try Headspace for free for 2-weeks. Find videos that guide you through your mindfulness meditation journey.
- Youtube: You can find a plethora of mindfulness guided meditations right on Youtube. Check out The Daily Calm, The Honest Guys, or The Mindful Movement.
5. Stop Taking Hot Showers
In fact, research has suggested that taking a cold shower is the best way to combat anxiety in the morning. Yes, I know this sounds torturous, but trust me when I tell you that it actually works.
Cold shower therapy is actually an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that has more health benefits than just alleviating your anxiety in the morning.
Why Should I Stop Taking Hot Showers?
First of all, one thing it does is wake you up! I mean a shower of ice cold water is sure to do that, right?! This means you don’t need that dreaded cup of coffee. Coffee has caffeine in it, and caffeine can make you antsy, jittery, and you guessed it; anxious!
- Additionally, a study that was done by a researcher named Nikolai Shevchuck from the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine found that cold showers can alleviate and possibly prevent depression and anxiety.
- This is because cold showers stimulate the locus cerulean which is the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline. Noradrenaline is a biochemical that helps mediate depression and anxiety. Nifty right?!
- The easiest way for you to achieve this feat is by taking it slow. Begin your shower with warm/hot water while gradually making the water cooler. Finish your shower with 2-3 minutes of pure icey cold anxiety relief.
- In addition to helping anxiety and depression, taking a cold shower can strengthen your body’s nervous system, increase proper circulation, help eliminate toxins as your muscles contract, and build your immune system.
6. Take a Short Walk
Before or after your shower, your choice, take a short walk. I prefer to go after my shower because the shower wakes me up, while the walk gets me pumped for the day. Others may prefer to take a shower after the walk.
First of all, we all need exercise on a daily basis. Without it, we are way more prone to anxiety and depression. So, instead of going to the gym after your day is over, start your day with a little exercise.
A 30-minute walk is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy nature, and get your blood pumping. Not only does it do the body well, but it improves your mood as well.
7. Give Thanks
One of the things we are lacking quite often in this life is gratitude. So often, we only think of the negative. We think about what we are lacking, what is wrong with the morning, and ultimately what is wrong with the day.
But, we rarely step back and think about the little things that we are grateful for. Practicing gratitude daily has been proven by billionaires to alleviate anxiety and depression.
However, you don’t want to be thankful for the same things every day. Instead, you want to be a little more specific. Focus on the smaller things in life that you don’t always see.
Each day, I try to focus on 3 things I am grateful for: A person in my life and why, 1 thing in my life, and one thing that I would truly miss if it were gone.
Here is an example:
- Person: I am grateful for my mother because she taught me to always fight for what I have in life.
- A thing in my life: I am grateful for my computer so that I can work each and every day.
- What I would miss: I am grateful for running water because life would be so miserable without it.
You can either write these moments of gratitude or merely say them to yourself.
I personally find that they stick with me much more if I write them down in a journal each day. However, the key is being able to be thankful for the small things.
8. Give Your Day Positive Affirmations
Along with being grateful for what you have in life, it is important to affirm that your day will be good with positive affirmations!
What are Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations are really quite simple. They are phrases or statements that you say to help combat negative or unhelpful thoughts.
For example, instead of saying, “I just know I am going to blow this presentation” you would say “I prepared for this and I am going to blow everyone’s mind with this presentation today.”
Do you see the difference? One phrase is talking yourself down where the other phrase is building you up!
Basically, all you need to do is pick 3-positive phrases or statements to say to yourself each day. You pick it and repeat it to yourself.
You can choose between various types of positive affirmations such as:
- “I believe in myself”
- “I will be at peace today”
- “I have big goals and I will achieve them”
- “I will make everyday better than the last one”
- “Today, I will make a difference”
- “I am kind, I am able, I am love”
- “Today is going to be a really good day”
- “I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful”
- “Creative energy is surging through me and leading me to new and brilliant ideas”
- “Happiness is a choice, and I choose to be happy”
- “My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless, and my ability to succeed is immeasurable”
- “Everything that happens today is happening for my ultimate good”
- “My mind is filled with positivity and my life is plentiful”
- “I trust my intuition. I always make wise decisions”
- “I feel motivated to do all that needs done today”
- “I am focussed on my goals and feel confident I will reach them”
If you want more ideas, check out my list of 45 Positive Affirmations for Women!
Affirmations boost your outlook on life and on yourself. It takes your mind from wandering to negative thoughts, fear, and anxiety to positive, happy thoughts.
9. Create a Plan of Attack For Your Day
Once you have taken the time for yourself, it is time to tackle the day. But, you can’t rush out there without a plan. Did you know that even a basic plan can help alleviate anxiety?
This is because it decreases your cognitive load. We only have so much brainpower when we wake up every morning. Each time we have to make a decision, it takes away from that brainpower.
By having a plan of attack for your day, it decreases the number of decisions you have to make about what you are going to do next.
So, every morning before you get started, write down a list of 3-5 things that are making you the most anxious or stressed out.
Once you have written down 3-5 tasks that have been weighing on you, it's time to prioritize those tasks by asking yourself the following questions:
- What task, if completed, will make it easier to do the rest of the tasks?
- What task gives me the most anxiety?
- What task is going to pull me closer to my goals
Only you will know the answer to these questions. I, however, tend to do the task that gives me the most anxiety first. Why? Because once that task is complete, I have less anxiety which makes doing the other tasks much easier.
Once you figure out the answers, you will be able to prioritize your tasks from 1-3 or 1-5. Begin with your first task and just keep going until you have finished it.
Anxiety Relief Throughout the Day
Most of the time, a morning routine is a great way to combat anxiety throughout the day. However, sometimes that anxiety can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
If you have followed the morning routine, but feel anxiety sneaking up on you throughout the day, there are a few things you can do to combat that anxiety:
Take a break
For every hour's worth of work that you do, take 10-minutes to regroup. When you take a break, you want to get up and move around. Remember, physical activity helps alleviate stress. So, go for a walk, do a few stretches, or maybe even go or a jog.
Turn on some calming music
Music is a powerful universal language. It is able to pump you up or calm you down. You want to listen to music that is calm and soothing. According to DreamPadSleep, the following popular songs are the scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety:
- Marconi Union – Weightless
- Airstream – Electra
- DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
- Enya – Watermark
- Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
- Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
- All Saints – Pure Shores
- Adele – Someone Like You
- Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria
- Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly
Talk to a friend
Another way you can help relieve anxiety throughout the day is by talking to a friend.
It’s amazing how a phone call to the right person can help your anxiety. If you are at work, try talking to an office friend who may be going through the same things.
Drink some water
When you are dehydrated even in the slightest, it can cause a lot of anxiety. If you begin to feel anxious, drink a full glass of water.
Don't be afraid to journal
Take out a pad of paper and a pencil and just start writing. Sometimes getting it out on paper is all we need to do to make ourselves feel better. Write down how you feel.
When you are done writing about how you feel, write down positive affirmations to yourself to get those negative thoughts out of your mind.
Use essential oils
Essential oils such as Lavender work really well. Lavender has natural calming properties. In fact, if you use lavender during your morning meditation, your body will begin to associate lavender with calmness.
Thus, it will help you to feel more relaxed instantaneously. Keep a small bottle on hand wherever you go, so you can immediately go to it when you start to feel anxious.
Are you ready to kick anxiety in the butt? If so, start doing this routine, today! It will change your life. I know it did mine.
How to Apply These Tips To Help Establish a Morning Routine for Anxiety Relief
Reading these tips and completing these tips are both two different things. I would pick 1-2 things from this list and apply it to your life.
If you're focused on establishing a morning routine for anxiety relief, I suggest you start slow and ease into this. Anxiety has a way of creeping up on us without us even realizing.
I hope these tips help you in so many ways! I hope you're able to get rid of the negative thoughts and reduce anxiety.
What tips would you add to this list? I'd love to hear all about it !
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