We want the first thoughts that enter our minds as we regain consciousness in the morning to be positive ones, filled with life and hope and positivity about the day ahead.
However, sometimes the first thoughts we think are anxious ones. It feels like a flood; all of a sudden, the gates are open, your heart is pounding, and any hope that today is going to be a great day gets drowned out.
But that’s not the way it has to be. Sure, we can’t control all of the thoughts that come into our minds, but we can control what we do with them. We can either entertain them, or we can let them go. We can let them control us, or we can capture the good thoughts and get rid of the thoughts that don’t help us to become better versions of ourselves.
Some days, the thoughts that I wake up with are anxious ones. Those days start off a little harder, but after I climb that hill, after I get to the top, that day can still be a great day. I can still have gratitude in the moment, even if it's not my ideal scenario. I can get through anxiety. I cannot go around it, I cannot give in to it, I have to fight through it. I have to remind myself that I am not my thoughts and that I don’t let my thoughts control me.
Trust me, I know it’s hard. Here are some things you can do on those days when you need to help yourself through a tough morning.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re anxious, you feel a little energetic? Have you ever felt that feeling when you’re lying in bed and you can’t go to sleep because of the anxious energy that’s keeping you from relaxing and falling into a deep sleep? It happens in the morning, too, when your chest gets tight and your heart beats faster.
Channel that anxious energy into something else: exercise. This is a tip I picked up from Alexia from Not-So-Secret Diary of Anxiety (follow her on Instagram for anxiety tips). Exercise is a powerful anxiety-reliever. I think that cardio is usually best for these types of situations because it really gets your heart pumping. I find that running makes me feel more refreshed and calm afterward.
Choose your thoughts
Every morning, I need to remind myself which thoughts I’m choosing to think today.
I have to intentionally choose to think not just non-negative thoughts but POSITIVE ones. In the morning, I remind myself that today, I’m going to choose to be happy. I’m going to choose to be productive, to make a difference, to be patient and kind to others.
It’s a choice.
Choose your thoughts, choose your moods, choose your life.
Ask yourself in the morning, especially when you’re having trouble with anxious thoughts:
Am I going to choose to be anxious or at peace?
Am I going to give into anxiety or not allow it to control me?
Am I going to be strong in the face of adversity or bow down to my fear?
Take a hot shower
Sometimes, there’s nothing more relaxing than a hot, invigorating shower. Showing is warm, it’s relaxing, and it gives you an overall feeling of peace.
Not only does it relax you, it also wakes you up. I find that for anxiety management, I need the energy to battle my anxiety but the calmness to not have a racing mind--it’s a balance.
You can try doubling up and combining a run with a shower afterward, so that you’ll have balanced energy and be ready to take on your day with focus and vibrancy, but without the overloaded, anxious energy.
Often, when I wake up with anxiety, I’m hungry. Being hungry makes my anxiety harder to deal with.
If you’re hungry and anxious in the morning, you might just need to EAT to feel more relaxed. Different people’s bodies respond to hunger differently. For me, I get anxious. If you do too, plan a healthy breakfast at night so that you're prepared for the next morning.
I'd recommend eating a protein-rich breakfast to keep yourself satiated, and not waiting too long after getting up to eat if it helps with your anxiety.
Find your balance and figure out what works for you in terms of breakfast.
Other things I do
Adding the ones that work for you to your morning routine can help you to have a plan each morning, so that if anxiety strikes, you’re ready.
Morning anxiety can feel overwhelming. In your first hours of the day, you don't want to already be feeling anxious, but using strategic methods that work for you can help you to combat this morning overwhelm and help you get on with your day.
Sometimes, choosing the right thoughts can be a challenge. I honestly believe that your thoughts are the key to a lot of the success you have in life, and you--only YOU--have control over them.
Don't allow the bad thoughts to marinate in your head—marinate your brain in the good thoughts :)
Don’t let the wrong thoughts take up space in your mind. Don’t let yourself hold onto the thoughts that aren’t good for you and your mind. Let go of them. Don’t be a victim to your thoughts.
Anxiety can be managed with many powerful mental and physical techniques. Looking back, I am amazed by how far I’ve come in my own anxiety journey. Anxiety is tough, but I’m right there with you. It’s a journey that could possibly last my entire life, and I can say from experience that even though the journey is hard, it's beautiful in the many ways that you will grow.
If you liked this post, make sure to check out my other posts on anxiety, 5 Things I Do To Manage My Anxiety (part 1, part 2, and part 3), How To Get To Sleep (For Anxious People), and 100 Ways To Manage Anxiety.