Morning anxiety.  It was a thing for me, and I know based on massive amounts of feedback on this topic that it’s a thing for many others.  In this episode of the podcast, we’ll look at morning anxiety and how to approach it most effectively.


The Highlights

  • Morning anxiety is something many many people wrestle with.  It’s a very common issue among those that struggle with disordered anxiety.  It can feel like a major obstacle to recovery.
  • Morning anxiety is not special anxiety.  It does not require some kind of special treatment.  The principles used to move through morning anxiety are the same principles you hear discussed on the podcast all the time.
  • Morning anxiety is not a body problem.  Yes, hormonal profiles are different in the morning.  You may FEEL different in the morning based on that.  Being AFRAID of that, however, is your problem, and that has nothing to do with cortisol (for instance).
  • Your first wise move when it comes to morning anxiety is to abandon all your attempts to control your body and stop it from happening.  That has, and will continue to, get you nowhere.
  • You are fueling morning anxiety (as I was at one time) by dreading the morning, continually ruminating on it, and then passively allowing morning anxiety to pin you down and lash you with a wet noodle.  There’s no need for that.  You can do things differently, even when you are anxious.
  • You do not need special bedtime rituals designed to prevent morning anxiety. Those are fueling the dread and anticipation.
  • Dr. Weekes said … “Rise upon waking.”  She was a wise woman!  Do that!  When you wake, put your feet on the floor right away.  Laying there doom scrolling on your phone, focusing on how you feel, and worrying about your day is not helping you or keeping you safe.
  • Create yourself a simple morning routine based on personal “maintenance” tasks like washing, brushing teeth, doing your hair, getting dressed, and feeding yourself.  Those things are not silly.  They need to be done, and they matter!  Plan the first 15 minutes or so of your day, starting with the time you wake up, then run that plan when you wake up.
  • REALLY plan that out.  On paper.  When you are anxious, do not rely on your frightened brain to make good choices.  Make them ahead of time, then carry them out.
  • You will feel anxious when running your morning routine.  This is to be expected. You can do things even when anxious.  Show yourself that you have power and agency in this process.
  • Over time, when you find that you can truly function in the morning even when uncomfortable, that sense of dread the night before will begin to fade.  With practice and repetition, you will learn that you are capable and in control in the morning, even when you previously thought you were anything but.
  • As always, our goal is not to banish anxiety (in this case morning anxiety), but to learn that you can move through it.  Start doing that, and the way you view the morning and the way you relate to morning anxiety will change.
  • When these things change, THEN morning anxiety will begin to fade.

At some point in the next 24 hours (whenever you are reading this), morning will come again.  Let this one be the first morning with your new approach!


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Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)






Founder and host of The Anxious Truth podcast. Graduate student and therapist-in-training. Author and educator on the topic of anxiety disorders and anxiety recovery. Former anxious and depressed person.