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.
Find Purpose In Life By Helping Others
Its also worth considering how much of your day is spent with someone else in mind? If its very little or none at all, then youre at a high risk of poor mental health. Regardless of how much we work or the amount of money we make, we cant be truly happy until we know that someone else needs us and depends on our productivity or love.
This doesnt mean that we need peoples praise, but doing something with someone else in mind takes the spotlight off of us and places it onto others and how we can make a difference to them.
For people who think theres nothing to live for, nothing more to expect from life the question is getting these people to realise that life is still expecting something from them.
Knowing that someone else needs you makes it easier to endure the toughest times. Youll know the why for your existence and will be able to bear almost any how.
So how can you make yourself important in someone elses life? It could be as simple as taking care of a child or elderly parent, volunteering, or finishing work that might benefit future generations. Even if these people never realise what youve done for them, it doesnt matter because youwill know. And this will make you realise the uniqueness and importance of your life.
Stop Spending Your Time Fighting The Anxiety And The Anxious Thoughts
Let them hang out with you while you go do something else.
Youll find that by taking this non-defensive stance, the anxiety eventually eases up without you doing anything about it. It might take a while, but it will happen. In the meantime, remember that in the short-term, both alternatives involve feeling the anxiety.
In the short-term, its there if you try to get rid of it and its there if you stop trying to get rid of it. So why bother with all that effort? It goes nowhere anyway, so whats the point? Give yourself a break and try accepting the anxiety instead of fighting it.
I see this work for people all the time, and I know it will work for you if you give it a chance.
Interested in learning some of the most common and most effective strategies I teach my clients for dealing with anxiety and worry? Check out my self-help video series, How to Stop Overanalyzing, with over 3 hours of content covering the skills I teach to almost all of my clients in the first 5 therapy sessions.
About Dr. Stein
Don’t Miss: What Are Some Anxiety Disorders
Other Strategies To Overcome Anxiety
This is just a small sample of the many strategies for reducing anxiety. Some people find relaxation exercises like visualization and progressive muscle relaxation to be helpful. Others find goal setting, staying socially active, and spending time with fun distractions to be all they need. Others need to consider herbal supplements like kava and passionflower that can help control anxiety.
But the most important thing to realize is committing to changing your anxiety is the most important step.
Was this article helpful?
Calm Anxiety By Trashing Your Anger
Anger is an intense and common emotion in the ADHD brain. We feel anger not only in the mind but also in the body. This intense emotion causes high levels of anxiety and leads to out-of-control behavior that you later regret. The next time you start to feel your blood boil when things aren’t going according to your script or you think you were treated unfairly, remember that your anger harms you as much as others when you lash out. Write down your feelings on a piece of paper, then rip it up and throw your anger in the trash along with your words.
Read Also: Do I Have Stress Or Anxiety
Schedule A Worry Break
It may sound counterintuitive when looking at strategies to help you find relief from anxiety, but allowing yourself a short worry break each day can free up your energy to focus on the task at hand. How you set this up depends on your routine. One way is to schedule a chunk of time later in the day, maybe 15 minutes after dinner, to go through your worries for the day.
Earlier in the day, you can write down any worries or anxieties that creep into your mind. Then, give yourself permission to deal with them later. This allows you to go about your day while still acknowledging that something is bothering you.
Later, when you go over the worry list, make sure to set a timer. Review what you wrote, identify any thoughts that are still causing anxiety, and cross off those that dont seem important anymore. Allow yourself a few minutes to sit with each concern.
Steer Clear Of Alcohol
Drinking alcohol may take the edge off at first, since its a natural sedative. However, suggests theres a link between anxiety and alcohol consumption, with anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorder occurring hand-in-hand.A 2017 review that looked at 63 different studies showed that decreasing alcohol intake can improve both anxiety and depression.
Heavy drinking can interfere with the balance of neurotransmitters, which can be responsible for positive mental health. This interference creates an imbalance that may lead to certain symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety may temporarily increase in early sobriety but can improve in the long run. Alcohol has also been shown to disrupt your bodys natural ability to sleep by interfering with sleep homeostasis. And as well later point out, a good nights sleep is incredibly helpful when combating anxiety.
Read Also: What Does An Anxiety Headache Feel Like
When You Stop Trying To Get Rid Of Anxiety And Anxious Thoughtsthey Eventually Subside On Their Own This Is The Power Of Acceptance
Try it with the pink elephant exercise again: Get the image in your head of a pink elephant. But then let your mind wander. If it goes back to the pink elephant, thats fine , but just let your thoughts float around to whatever they naturally want to focus on. Eventually, the thoughts about the pink elephant will become fewer and further between and youll start thinking about other things.
This works the same for your anxiety: instead of doing things to try to get rid of it, see what happens when you just allow yourself to feel anxious and go about your day anyway.
What Is Morning Anxiety
Morning anxiety is when you feel anxious or afraid immediately after waking up from sleep.
For most people, there isnt even a moment when they werent anxiousits as if they were anxious in their sleep and simply woke up into that anxiety.
Typically, morning anxiety lasts while you are still in bed but tends to decrease quickly once you get up and start your day. Although, for some people, the anxiety persists or even gets stronger as the morning goes on.
You May Like: How To Deal With Social Anxiety Disorder
What Maintains The Anxiety Trick
You might wonder, why don’t people come to see this pattern, of repeated episodes of fear which don’t lead to the feared outcome, and gradually lose their fear?
The answer is this. They took these protective steps, and there was no catastrophe. They tend to believe that these steps “saved” them from a catastrophe. This thought makes them worry more about “the next time”. It convinces them that they are terribly vulnerable and must constantly protect themselves.
The actual reason they didn’t experience a catastrophe is that such catastrophes are typically not part of a fear or phobia. These are anxiety disorders, not catastrophe disorders. People get through the experience because the experience isn’t actually dangerous. But it’s understandably hard for people to recognize that at the time. They’re more likely to think they just had a “narrow escape”. This leads them to redouble their protective steps.
It’s the protective steps which actually maintain and strengthen the Anxiety Trick. If you think you just narrowly escaped a catastrophe because you had your cellular phone, or a water bottle or because you went back and checked the stove seven times or because you plugged in your iPod and distracted yourself with some music, then you’re going to continue to feel vulnerable. And you’re going to get more stuck in the habit of “protecting” yourself by these means.
Can Someone Suddenly Develop Anxiety
Unfortunately, anxiety can affect anyone at any time, and the often sudden onset can be disconcerting. Anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly reported mental health concerns, Kassab explains. In fact, 1 in 4 people experience an anxiety disorder at some point during their life.
Its worth noting that anxiety can come and go suddenly, especially if its linked to a difficult event or situation. A sudden onset of anxiety can occur when something extremely stressful is happening unexpectedly, or when there is physical pain in the body, physical stress, of other kinds of severe mental stress, Saxena says.
Meanwhile, psychiatrist Jared Heathman, MD, explains that while anxiety can be triggered by certain stressful stimuli, it can also be random and equally debilitating. Either way, there are things you can do to manage an anxiety or panic attack when it starts.
Licensed clinical psychologist Aaron Weiner, Ph.D., says, Anxiety spikes are an activation of the bodys fight-or-flight system, a hardwired physiological reaction to when we think were in danger in some way. Because of that, we can anticipate some of the following symptoms of a panic attack:
- Heart palpitations or a pounding heartbeat
- Becoming hot or dizzy
RELATED: Anxiety attack vs. panic attack
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Rid Of Social Anxiety
Do One Thing Each Day That Brings You Joy
When youre feeling anxious and want to take your mind off the stressor, Lagoy says to carve out time to do the things you love, whether that is riding a bike, reading a book, painting, or catching up with friends.
Regular exercise can help prevent or alleviate anxiety, as well as learning techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or practicing mindfulness, Lagoy said.
Calm Anxiety With 4/7/8 Breathing
A panic attack comes on fast, often without warning. One minute youre driving home listening to Hozier the next minute you are trying to decide if you should pull over and call 911. If you have no other signs of a heart attack, but need to know how to calm anxiety, practice this easy breathing technique called 4/7/8: Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. Exhale for 8 seconds. Do this a few times. It causes a shift in your nervous system from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic response.
Also Check: How To Know You Have Anxiety
How To Ease Anxiety: 5 Ways To Feel Calmer Right Now
When we’re anxious, our breath becomes rapid and shallow. Deep belly breathing helps decrease anxiety by stimulating the bodyâs relaxation response, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Itâs a powerful technique that works because we canât breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. There are many variations to try, including this simple exercise:
Inhale deeply for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Repeat several times.
Exercise is one of the best anxiety remedies, immediately and long term. Going for a walk creates a diversion from worries and releases muscle tension. Grab your headphones or earbuds on the way out:studies show that listening to music brings its own calming effects.
Long term, regular exercise triggers the release of feel-good neurochemicals in the brain, building up resilience against stormy emotions. It boosts confidence and mood, and we donât need to run a marathon to feel the benefits. Washing the car, hiking, gardening, a pick-up game â anything that gets us moving counts. Research shows that 30 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week can help to significantly improve anxiety symptoms, but even 10 minutes can make a difference.
Tip : Practice Mindfulness
Worrying is usually focused on the futureon what might happen and what youll do about itor on the past, rehashing the things youve said or done. The centuries-old practice of mindfulness can help you break free of your worries by bringing your attention back to the present. This strategy is based on observing your worries and then letting them go, helping you identify where your thinking is causing problems and getting in touch with your emotions.
Acknowledge and observe your worries. Dont try to ignore, fight, or control them like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsiders perspective, without reacting or judging.
Let your worries go. Notice that when you dont try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. Its only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.
Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.
Basic mindfulness meditation
Click here for a free mindful breathing meditation.
Also Check: How To Retrain Your Brain From Anxiety
Consider Quitting Smoking Cigarettes
Smokers often reach for a cigarette during stressful times. Yet, like drinking alcohol, taking a drag on a cigarette when youre stressed is a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time.
has shown that the earlier you start smoking in life, the higher your risk of developing an anxiety disorder later. Research also suggests nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.
If youre looking to quit, there are lots of different ways you can get started. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends finding a safe substitute for cigarettes, like toothpicks.
You can also take up habits that may distract you in order to create an environment that works for your smoke-free life. Additionally, you can make a plan with a support system who can provide everything from encouragement to distractions.