Lets talk about morning anxiety. In plain language … its a bitch. When you start the day feeling like you’re about to panic and all you want to do is hide away, how do you make progress? I was asked this question today on My Facebook Page and I thought it was worth posting the answer here on the blog.
First, thank you for the question. I appreciate the kind words!
Now for the answer.
This is VERY common! Most people (including me) experience morning anxiety. Many folks even go through periods where high anxiety itself wakes them up well before the alarm clock. This is no fun at all.
So why does this happen? Cortisol levels are generally highest in the morning, and cortisol is the “stress hormone” so there’s likely a connection, but we really don’t know to be honest. Lets forget about that though. If you’ve followed any of my podcasts, videos or blogs, you know that I am NOT a fan of focusing on physical symptoms and sensations. Its often a dead end and only leads to frustration.
Instead, my best advice is to keep working – all the time – on three skills:
- Muscle relaxation.
- Basic meditation.
You really have to practice things things constantly. Learn to do them when you feel good, so that you can do them when you feel awful. Also, don’t expect that they will stop anxiety or panic dead in their tracks. That’s not what this is about and that’s not how it works.
The goal here is acceptance! Get good at controlling your breath, relaxing your body and quieting your mind and it becomes much easier to accept the anxious state, especially when you know it’s going to fade as the day goes on.
Once you’re good at truly accepting feelings of anxiety or panic, once you stop fighting, once you stop fleeing, and once you stop trying to make it stop … it often does!
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My dear friend … you are spot on. Mornings are the worst. My thoughts in the mornings sometimes lean towards “my life is so messed up and nothing will ever get better”, but I know that is false thinking and I push through with what has to be done, knowing that those thoughts will fade.
There’s a scene in Ocean’s Eleven where Matt Damon and Brad Pitt are standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting on Julia Roberts and Matt’s character asks Brad’s character, “are you suicidal?”. Brad’s character replies, “only in the mornings”. That resonates with me. I’m not at all suicidal (not since my Paxilated years), but I understand how hard mornings can be for people.