Morning anxiety fascinates me. It also haunts me and I hate it with a passion, but its a curious thing. How is it that the moment you open your eyes you can go from peaceful sleep to out of control fear and panic?!? And how is it that sometimes its in my life on a daily basis and other times its nowhere to be seen for long periods of time?
I've done a lot of research on this topic not only because I struggle with it often, but its also the number one search that brings people to this site, so I know that a lot of you are struggling with it too.
Usually when the morning anxiety sets in, it takes me about a week or so to really remove it from my morning routine. Every time it comes one of two things happen. I either fear the morning anxiety and feel guilty and ashamed when it shows up, or I expect it to be there and tell myself its not a big deal and I can handle it. There are lots of little tips I have spoken of before but I have learned over time that for me, the best medicine for my morning anxiety is my attitude towards how I approach it each morning.
When I feel guilty and embarrassed about my morning anxiety, and when I give into the fear thinking that its too much to bare, a funny thing happens. My anxiety gets even worse and I am usually sick all day long until right before bedtime when I can finally eat something and relax. This can continue for a few days where I hardly eat anything because I feel so sick.
It gets so bad that I am forced to change my attitude. I tell myself the night before that I don't need to get upset if I wake up with anxiety. In fact I tell myself I should expect it to be there and stop worrying about if it comes again. I say, when I wake up and the anxiety hits, this is what I am going to do. I am going to tell myself that its ok that I feel this way, its not a big deal, and I can handle it. I CAN handle it! I can do whatever I need to throughout the day with the anxiety.
Then I will get out of bed and do something to distract my mind. Just start my day. Lately if my little girl is still sleeping I will get out my iPhone and play this app that I am addicted to called Scramble. Really, I am pretty addicted to it, and the sad thing is I am not even that good! But its an easy distraction. I have observed that when I can stay positive and treat my anxiety this way instead of as such a horrible thing to dread, it is much less severe throughout the day and eventually after a couple days of thinking positively about it, I will wake up anxiety free.
The positive affirmations stuck around my house really help to reinforce the positive thinking. I have one on my light on my nightstand so its the first thing I see when I wake up. I have one in my closet so when I get dressed I see and read it. You get the idea.
Sure there are some days as I have chronicled where I don't want to work at being positive. Its too draining and I just want to vent because I am annoyed that I even have to deal with this in the first place. But I find that I have more strength and have more positive days than the days I just want to vent and have a pity party for myself.
I hope you find this useful for your own morning anxiety because it really is an awful thing that if you let it, can effect your whole day. But waking up with anxiety doesn't have to set the tone for your day. You can accept it instead of fearing it and in doing so, you are controlling it and not letting it control you.