Is this you?
You’re a people person and you put others before you?
You overthink and worry about everything?
You worry what others think of you, so you try to become what they want?
If you answered yes to any of the above then YES you can change.
I dedicate this blog to all the people out there who struggle daily with anxiety.
Good Morning….Or is it?
Do you ever experience racing thoughts or anxiety in the morning before you even have a chance to hit snooze on your alarm? If you do, you’re not alone.
What is morning anxiety?
Although not a medical term, morning anxiety refers to waking up with feelings of stress and worry. If you are dealing with excessive anxiety, worry, and stress in the morning, there’s a good chance you may also have generalized anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and uncontrolled worry that pervades daily life and occurs frequently for at least six months. People with GAD typically worry about everyday actives such as work, money, family, and health.
What are the symptoms of morning anxiety?
The symptoms of morning anxiety often mimic those of generalized anxiety disorder. If you are struggling with anxiety upon waking, you may be experiencing: feeling restless, “on-edge,” or “wound up” irritability fatigue. Signs of a panic attack, such as tight chest, tense muscles, higher than normal heart rate, or difficulty breathing
difficulty concentrating and finding your mind goes blank
difficulty controlling the worry or nervousness.
What causes morning anxiety?
Morning anxiety can be caused by many factors that may also contribute to an anxiety disorder. Since morning anxiety is a reaction to excess stress and worries, there are several potential causes that may contribute to your symptoms.
The “stress hormone” cortisol is released by the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress. Researchers have studied the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and have found that cortisol is highest in the first hour of waking for people with an increased level of stress in their lives. This helps explain why you may experience an increase in anxiety in the morning.
What you eat and drink first thing in the morning can also contribute to higher levels of anxiety in the early hours of the day. Did you know that Caffeine and sugar can increase anxiety symptoms. But low blood sugar due to a lack of food can make anxiety symptoms worse.
If you go to bed worrying or wake up during the night with anxious thoughts, you are likely to feel anxious and concerned about your day in the morning.
How is morning anxiety treated?
Living with an anxiety disorder can feel like a never-ending cycle of worry. But it doesn’t have to take over your life. You can learn ways to cope with your symptoms. Some of the more common ways to treat morning anxiety include:
Many lifestyle changes can help you manage morning anxiety, including:
getting enough sleep
limiting alcohol and caffeine (both can trigger anxiety and panic attacks)
eating a healthy diet that limits processed food and sugar
reducing stress at work and home.
There are also self-care strategies you can use right when you wake up feeling anxious. This includes:
Physical activity. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself in the morning, especially if you are dealing with an excessive amount of worry when you wake up. Any physical activity, such as taking a walk, can:
lift your mood
reduce anxiety symptoms
improve your body’s ability to handle stress
help you relax
Aim to exercise at least five days per week for 30–45 minutes each session.
Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing done first thing in the morning can help take the focus off of your negative and anxious thoughts and turn your focus and energy toward your body.
Challenging negative thoughts
If you wake up with negative thoughts about your day (often called “awfulizing”) challenge them and focus on what you can control. You can keep a journal by your bed and write down what you are grateful for. It’s also a good idea to list at least three things you are looking forward to.
Don’t fight it.
If you’re new to these techniques and you’re finding that managing morning anxiety is a lot harder than you thought, try setting a worry timer. Give yourself a time limit of 10 minutes to experience those feelings. When the timer goes off, move on to your self-care strategies. Though you can’t expect to simply “turn off” your anxiety, this approach allows you to acknowledge your worry and gives you a concrete point at which to move on to self-care.
Even though the symptoms of morning anxiety can feel overwhelming and permanent, they are highly treatable. When you combine professional treatment along with the self-care strategies listed above, you can experience relief from the racing thoughts and worry that invade your mind.
Three Most Important Tasks that need to get done Even a basic plan of attack for your day can drastically reduce your anxiety by decreasing the cognitive load that comes with increased decision making. Each morning we wake up with a finite amount of brain power and every decision we make detracts from it. By having a basic structure that decreases the number of decisions you have to make about what you are going to do next, you will be able to take control of your day and calm your restless mind.”
What task, if completed successfully, will make all of the others obsolete?
What task do I have the most anxiety/fear about?
What task will move me closest to accomplishing my number 1 goal?
Deep Work: Do all of the above. Make it work for you.
I understand we all have different schedules and responsibilities, but if we want to overcome anxiety and move our goals forward truly we must protect our mornings. If we don’t take control of our mornings, something else will.
Anxiety at Night.
Night time is often considered to be a time of relaxation, where we mentally unwind and prepare ourselves for sleep. However, it is still quite common to experience an anxiety attack at night.
Anxiety attacks are frightening at the best of times, but when they occur unexpectedly in the silence and darkness of night time, they can be particularly hard to endure. In theory, we are at our most relaxed when we are asleep, so it seems an unlikely time for anxiety to flare up. However, this is a common problem .
What causes anxiety attacks at night?
Night time anxiety or panic attacks, like their day time cohorts, result from the ‘fight or flight’ instinct being triggered by a perceived aggressor. In this case, the aggressor is likely to be mental angst resulting from pent up worries.
In the business of daily life they recede into the background only to rear their monstrous heads when all distractions disappear. In the stillness of the night there is no running away, and if we allow the worry monster to keep up its aggression, an anxiety attack may well ensue.
We also know that the brain does not fully switch off when we are asleep. How often does an event that occurred during the day lead to an odd dream during the night? Our brain naturally tries to process and sort out the day's events and if these have been stressful then our dreams may well provoke anxiety too
What can I do to stop anxiety attacks at night?
Trying to fight a night time panic attack will only make it worse. Combat this as you would an anxiety attack during the day; try to slow down, breathe deeply, relax your muscles and calm your mind with whatever thoughts or images help to make you feel safe.
The adrenaline may continue to course through your body, so it is unlikely that you will be able to just to drop off back to sleep. You may even just begin worrying about not sleeping so it can help to get up and do something else to shift your focus. Ideally, simple activities like the ironing, listening to a calming meditation, reading an inspirational or gentle book etc. or even practising yoga poses for sleep may help.
Avoid any over stimulating activity. Only once you are feel ready for sleep should you go back to bed. When you lie down, remain calm by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth; if you are breathing correctly, your abdomen (not just your chest) will be rising on an in breath and falling on an out breath.
It is possible to learn how to rationally identify and accept the anxiety attack, and allow the fear to pass. With practise of sensible tools and techniques, anxiety attacks will diminish in severity and frequency.
I have spoke about Morning and night anxiety as they seem to be the most common among my clients but Anxiety is a 24 hour condition which needs addressing. This blog is extracts from my book ‘Can I change’ Available from Amazon. However if you are really struggling with anxiety Hypnotherapy is one of the fastest and most successful ways to help you.
Search for a hypnotherapist in your area or contact me, as I not only work one to one I also work via zoom and it is just as powerful.
Until next month
Stay safe and focused on what you want.