How To Calm Anxiety In The Morning
Many people who suffer from anxiety wake up feeling so frightened and dreadful that they want to hide under the blankets and avoid facing the day. Do not become disheartened there are a variety of strategies for reducing morning anxiety and waking up ready to tackle the new day. When you get up and go about your morning, try the following strategies for minimizing and managing anxiety:
How To Reduce Morning Anxiety
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.
Substance Or Alcohol Use
People already dealing with anxiety should avoid alcohol and recreational drug use.
Although substance use and alcohol use do not have direct links to anxiety, they can make symptoms of anxiety worse.
As a result, alcohol or other substances can affect how a person sleeps or how they feel when they wake up.
There is evidence that how happy a person is in their relationship can directly affect aspects of their health. These include illness recovery and sleep patterns.
In a small-scale study , researchers asked 29 couples to record their relationship experiences during the day and how they slept at night. The results indicated that when females reported having positive interactions with their partner during the day, both they and their partner slept better than when the interactions were negative.
In a similar way, relationship status may cause a person to wake up feeling anxious.
GAD and other anxiety disorders may develop due to ongoing or acute stressful life events. Some life events that might trigger anxiety on waking include:
- changes in living arrangements, for example, moving to a new area or someone else moving out
- changes in employment, such as switching jobs or losing a job
- experiencing physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- the separation from or death of a loved one
- emotional shock after a traumatic event
However, for some, thinking and worrying about finances can become an overwhelming problem.
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Substance Or Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol and recreational drug usage should be avoided by individuals who are already suffering from anxiety. Although there are no clear correlations between substance abuse and anxiety, they can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. As a result, alcohol or other drugs might have an impact on how someone sleeps or feels when they wake up.
Why Is My Anxiety Worse In The Morning
You have higher amounts of stress hormones in the morning. Theres actually a physiological reason why some people experience anxiety in the mornings, Dr.
When will the anxiety go away?
Mild anxiety may go away on its own or after the event causing the anxiety is over, but chronic anxiety often persists and may get worse. If you arent sure how to find a therapist, you can ask your primary care provider for a referral. Therapist directories can also help you locate a therapist in your area.
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Is It Possible To Stop Waking Up With Anxiety
In my clinical practice, morning anxiety was something I saw all the time. As a result, I developed a set of pretty effective tools and strategies to help people break the cycle of waking up with anxiety, and instead, retrain their brains to wake up into peace and calm instead.
The key idea, though, is that morning anxiety is a habit. This means that it will take some time, effort, and a little patience if you want to break it.
In the next section, Ill walk you through 10 of the best strategies Ive found for ending morning anxiety for good.
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What Causes Morning Anxiety
Thinking about everything you have to accomplish during the day, from work to exercise and even socializing, can contribute to the anxiety that you feel in the morning, Mendez says.
While thinking about the day ahead might be stressful on its own, there’s a biological process at play too: the Cortisol Awakening Response .
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because it is involved in the body’s response to stress. During the first 30 to 45 minutes that you are awake each day, cortisol levels spike, a phenomenon known as CAR, which can make you feel more stressed in the morning.
“If you’re already prone to anxiety, there can be a high level of anxiousness during the morning,” Mendez says.
And while anxiety might be useful to get healthy individuals thinking about how to manage their day, it’s likely to be more paralyzing for people with underlying anxiety disorders.
“The effect of higher cortisol further exacerbates physiological symptoms of anxiety such as increased adrenaline flow, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure,” Mendez says. “For someone with anxiety, when cortisol levels are higher in the morning, the anxiety is greater and interferes with the person’s ability to think calmly and plan for the day ahead.”
Tips To Stop Waking Up With Anxiety
The following is a collection of the most effective ways I know to break the habit of morning anxiety.
Dont feel like you need to start doing all of them right away. The first tipstop sleeping inis actually the one Id recommend most people try first. In many cases doing that one thing alone is enough to break the habit of waking up with anxiety.
For others, you might need to try a few different ones and see which apply most to your particular situation. For example, if your morning anxiety seems to be highly related to worries about work and what you need to do during the day, numbers 7, 8, and 9 might be most applicable.
What Causes Anxiety In The Morning
Morning anxiety may affect anybody, but individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders are more vulnerable. Anxiety levels might spike in the morning if you are already apprehensive. Although anxiety might be beneficial in getting healthy people to think about how to organize their daily routine, it is more likely to paralyze individuals with underlying anxiety disorders. Some of the common causes of morning anxiety are as follows:
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Learning How To Manage Anxiety Day
If youre waking up with anxiety every morning, cognitive behavioral therapy , exposure therapy, and other types of therapy for anxiety and techniques can help. Working with a therapist, youll learn new coping skills for how to treat anxiety that can work to decrease your morning stress.
You might also consider taking prescription medication for anxiety like benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety drugs, beta-blockers, or antidepressants, but note that these are often associated with adverse side effects and do little to solve the core problem causing your anxiety. If you and your doctor do decide to try medication for generalized anxiety disorder, it likely will be a short term solution thats coupled with effective, proactive strategies like those weve discussed here today.
Focusing on holistic approaches like mindfulness meditation, taking a relaxing bath, setting and being committed to goals, and showing gratitude are all simple, effective ways to combat waking up with anxiety every morning.
Each of them can help to reduce morning anxiety symptoms so you can have calmer, happier days. If youre ready to start your journey and take steps to learn how to stop waking up with anxiety, Talkspace can help. Our approach to online therapy makes the process as easy as possible.
Reviewed On: March 15, 2022
What Are Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can happen day or night. They are sudden, unexpected episodes of intense anxiety, which can cause a variety of frightening symptoms. These include:
- Feeling out of control and disconnected from your surroundings
- Feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- Chest pains and shortness of breath – tightness of the chest and feeling as though its a struggle to breathe
- A racing or pounding heart
- Numbness and tingling, for example, tingling lips and numbness in your fingers and toes
- Fluctuating body temperature feeling very hot or very cold
These symptoms can be so severe they sometimes make first time sufferers believe theyre experiencing a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Over time, panic attacks can become more frequent, and the fear of having a panic attack becomes embedded, resulting in a ‘vicious circle’. You might also experience what’s known as hypnic jerks. If you’re particuarly stressed or anxious, you might also experience what’s known as hypnic jerks. These involuntary muscle sensations, like jolts, occur when you are in your lightest stage of sleep.
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Why Do I Wake Up With Anxiety Attack
You might be having a midnight panic or anxiety attack if you wake up with one.
Because you were asleep when the events started, you can wake up feeling confused or scared by the symptoms, which include perspiration, a quick heartbeat, and rapid breathing.
You can take action to lessen the severe discomfort or dread and other symptoms, much like during daytime anxiety attacks.
If they occur frequently, you might be able to locate medications that might completely halt anxiety episodes. For more information about anxiety attacks that wake you up, continue reading.
Morning Anxiety: Why Is Anxiety Worse In The Morning
Three women explain why they feel more anxious earlier in the day
Let’s face it: anxiety can occur at any time of day and, when it does, it can be the actual worst. But for some, anxiety has a particular habit of rearing its ugly head in the mornings.
At the start of a new day, its easy for the mind to ruminate on what’s ahead and become overwhelmed with negative thoughts about what you need to achieve that day. This can leave us with a sinking feeling and a high level of anxiety, says Dr Elena Touroni, a Consultant Psychologist and co-founder of London’s The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.
And it turns out there’s a scientific reason why anxiety can be so common in the morning for some. “For most people, the stress hormone cortisol is highest in the first hour upon waking, helping us to stay alert and focused in the morning,” says Dr Touroni. “However, going to bed feeling anxious can cause cortisol levels to spike too early, which might lead you to wake up with a racing mind.”
And that’s not all. “In the morning, its easier for the mind to ruminate on the day ahead and what you need to achieve that day,” Dr Touroni adds. “Blood sugar levels are also lower first thing in the morning, which can trigger anxiety for those who are prone to it.”
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How To Break The Morning Anxiety Cycle
Avoiding morning anxiety can be done, but it requires some focus on your part particularly with regards to your habits.
One of the first things you can do is begin to limit your exposure to early morning stressors right after you wake up.
Jumping right into emails from your boss, social media or just reading the news and watching news TV may be causing you stress and anxiety first thing in the morning.
When you condition your body to expect that, it leads to expectations .
Instead, consider replacing these activities with exercise or meditation, which can break the habit loop and offer mental focus and endorphins to replace those cortisol spikes. These things can also elevate your mood.
You can also try decreasing your morning anxiety by preparing for it the night before. Look at whats planned for the next day before bed, and address the things that cause you concern the night before, so that you wake up prepared and in control.
There are resources for all of these things, including podcasts, meditation and breathing apps, exercise trackers and even to-do lists that may help you organize your morning anxiety coping system.
You might also consider talking to a healthcare professional about online counseling and medication options.
Why Do I Keep Waking Up With Anxiety
One of the most frustrating parts about morning anxiety is that there usually isnt an obvious cause or trigger.
Heres the critical key idea you need to understand if you want to know why you keep waking up with anxiety:
Theres a big difference between the initial cause of your morning anxiety and the maintaining cause.
Any number of factors can cause morning anxiety initially:
- A period of high stress
- Relationship conflict
- Physical illness or medical issues
But theres usually only one thing that maintains morning anxiety and keeps it going: the habit of worry.
Almost always, the pattern with morning anxiety looks like this:
To sum up:
Many things can cause morning anxiety initially, but its worrying about being anxious that keeps you waking up with anxiety.
Well talk about some practical ways to break this habit of worry and escape the cycle of morning anxiety in the final section of this guide.
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Meditation & Deep Breathing
Mindfulness meditation offers many benefits to improve emotional and mental health. You can do it anywhere, without any equipment or memberships. Most communities have group meditation courses and support available. There are several different meditation styles, each having benefits for anxiety. Even just five minutes of meditation or deep breathing daily can have measurable benefits.
Okay But What If I Feel Anxious Like *every* Morning
If you wake up feeling anxious most days, itd be wise to get in touch with a therapist. Consistent anxietyno matter what time of day it shows upcan point to generalized anxiety disorder , Wallace notes.
And its normal for GAD to show up at consistent times. Some people who have GAD may feel anxious only in the mornings. Typically, it’s right before people go to bed and when they wake up in the morning,” Wallace says. “Ive also had people report that those are the worst times .
Why? Having anxiety in the morning tends to interfere with your mood and attitude for the day to come, and having anxiety right before bed can interfere with sleep and then also set you up to still feel on edge when you rise. Your anxiety may also dissipate as the day goes on.
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Cortisol Higher In The Morning
We mentioned earlier that not all morning anxiety has a clear medical basis. But studies have shown that cortisol levels are higher in the morning upon waking. Cortisol is the most well-known stress hormone. One theory to explain morning anxiety is that the higher cortisol levels are triggering anxiety in those prone to it, because a person is waking with higher levels of the hormone thats linked to stress.
How Should I Manage My Anxiety
There are various things you can do to manage anxiety,” says Buckley. “Talk to someone you trust about what is making you anxious. If you experience depression and anxiety, you might benefit from a talking therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is available on the NHS. Speak to your GP about treatment options as soon as you can.
“If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, call a confidential helpline such as those run by the Samaritans, Anxiety UK or Minds Infoline . Breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques can also help manage anxiety. Keeping a record of what triggered the anxiety and what helps it to pass can also help you understand and spot patterns early.
Plus, exercise and diet both can both affect mental health. “Physical activity is beneficial to our mental health as it releases feel good endorphins and reduces levels of cortisol,” says Buckley. “Eating regularly, keeping your blood sugar stable staying hydrated and managing caffeine can all help to keep us mentally well.”
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Waking Up With Anxiety: Why It Happens
Anxiety is a complex condition that may manifest in many different ways.
You may experience generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress in the morning. Some factors trigger these feelings, such as genetics, environmental influences, and life events.
Here is an insight into why you may be waking up with anxiety in the morning:
Leave The Television Off & Opt For Music
Repetitive exposure to negative stories like what we see and hear in the mainstream media these days has been linked to increased anxiety. If you dont like the silence in the morning, try putting on some calming music to create a more relaxing environment. Remember, calming doesnt have to be the same for everyone. You might prefer classical music, jazz, acoustictry whatever is soothing to you.
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