Why do I feel anxious in the morning?

Do you ever feel like you have morning anxiety? Anxious and overwhelmed even before the alarm has gone off? Your mind is racing with thoughts before the day has even begun? If so, you are not alone.

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There is a scientific reason why anxiety can feel more intense in the mornings. Cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are higher in the first hour of waking. This is part of the brain ‘booting up’ like a computer, after a night of sleep. Great for getting you up and ready, but not so good when you are already stressed out and overwhelmed.

I experienced anxiety for over 10 years, and I know first-hand how crippling and uncomfortable it can feel to start your day feeling anxious before the day has even begun. It is exhausting and it is horrible. I also know what it is like to wake up without anxiety and come out the other side and find your smile again. 

Creating a healthy morning routine is the first step towards gaining control of your health. It doesn't need to be life-changing and dramatic, sometimes the simplest tweaks can bring the greatest results. 

Below are my favourite tools and tips on overcoming morning anxiety and reclaiming your day. Like a new pair of shoes, try out the ideas below and see which one fits you best. 

Mobile in the morning

Regain your focus and reduce morning anxiety by avoiding your mobile phone as soon as you wake up. Your brain was not designed to be overloaded with constant information. Checking your phone, the moment you wake up can interfere with your brain's ability to prioritise tasks too. Mobile phones are a fantastic piece of technology but leave it on the kitchen table and not bring it to bed. If you use it for an alarm clock, then buy an alarm clock. Your beautiful brain will thank you for it.

Coffee swap

Swap your first hot drink of the day with something less caffeinated. I know, I love coffee too but, if you start your day with a high shot of caffeine, you are boosting your cortisol levels even higher and this will make you feel more anxious and jittery. 

A little tweak I do is to reach for my coffee fix around 10am, to allow my nervous system time to adjust to the day. Try starting your day with hot water and lemon or a herbal tea.

Morning pages

Is your brain filled with a million and one racing thoughts and it feels like you can’t focus? Start scribbling them down, with a nourishing concept called The Morning Pages from the book The Artist’s Way.

All you need to do is simply write down three pages of whatever is in your head. Let it all out. It does not need to make any sense, you do not need to show anyone and you do not have to read it afterwards. This is your unconscious downloading onto a page everything you are thinking and experiencing. Not only does it clear your head by allowing the thoughts to be released, but it also boosts creativity. Do this before you start your day (for mums and dads, after the nursery/school run works well too). 

Yoga

Yoga is a nourishing way to get your body ready for the day. When we exercise, our body is triggered to release feel-good hormones. As well as strength training and flexibility, yoga can also help reduce stress levels too and enhance your mood. 

Tapping

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is a fast method that reduces anxiety and stress. This simple yet superpower neuro tool works by tapping on various energy meridian points on the body while acknowledging how you feel. It works by releasing emotions from the body. 

While this might seem a bit woo-woo, over 100 clinical studies (including Harvard University) show that tapping works on the actual brain - the amygdala, the part that is in charge of stress - and calms it down. Give it a try and see how you feel after a session.

Positive affirmations 

Do you start your day waking up next to inner critic? That delightful part, that tells you that you sent the wrong email to your boss, will die alone and will never succeed. A morning routine filled with negative self-talk is exhausting and draining. It is very easy to start believing that what the inner critic is saying is real. You might find yourself even start behaving and talking based on this negative thinking.

“I can’t do that” becomes the norm, but… what if you could? 

Positive affirmations can help to rewire the neurotransmitters in the brain. Find some post-it notes and stick up your positive affirmations on the bathroom mirror and read them every time you brush your teeth.


Above all, please remember to be gentle with yourself and offer yourself compassion. You are more than your anxiety and the intensive feelings you are experiencing do not have to be the norm. If I can come overcome anxiety, then you can too.

For extra support, Rise & Vibe Your Morning is a brand-new free morning ritual designed to help you reduce those anxious feelings and boost confidence. It includes a short yoga flow video ideal for the morning with Yoga Instructor Heidi Hoelzer and a Positive Affirmation Tapping Meditation video with me. 

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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