Mornings can sometimes be super dreadful and if you’re like me, morning anxiety has its way of creeping in. Could it be because of that long and anticipated to-do list for the day? Could it be not knowing how my day is going to go? Or could it be because my “for you page” was too accurate on TikTok, so I didn’t get enough sleep from the night before? There are many reasons why morning anxiety can be triggered (i.e., increased blood flow, higher adrenaline, caffeine intake, and even low blood sugar), but taking a moment to recognize and acknowledge these triggers, and implementing healthy coping techniques can lessen this morning monster. According to one of Breakthrough’s interns Nicole Layer, “morning anxiety can be extremely debilitating. I suggest giving yourself a lot of time to wake up so there is no rushing and so you can process the day in front of you. Also, avoid caffeine!”
What is morning anxiety?
The Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR), also known as “morning anxiety,” is caused by the increase of cortisol aka the “stress hormone.” According to Healthline, cortisol is released by the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress and is found to be at its highest in the first hour of waking up for those who suffer from increased levels of stress. Although morning anxiety isn’t a formal mental health diagnosis, it can be described with feelings of distress, dread, worry, or even pressure in the morning. More often than not, people who are diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) may be more receptive to feeling morning anxiety, but that does not mean morning anxiety is only limited to those who are diagnosed with GAD.
What are some symptoms of morning anxiety?
Some ways to defeat morning anxiety
· Recognize triggers and acknowledge that you are having morning anxiety
· Challenge anxious and negative thoughts and replacing them with positivity and reality
· Focus on good sleep hygiene for better sleep
o try getting those 8 hours, reduce your screen time, and sleep before midnight!
· Limit social media use, especially before bed and as soon as you wake up!
· Eat a good, healthy breakfast
o magnesium-rich foods like oatmeal, almond butter toast, whole grains, wheat, oat bran, banana oat pancakes
· Develop a morning routine
o shower, practice mindfulness and affirmations, practice deep breathing, get ready at an easy pace
· Plan from the night before
o plan your outfit, meal prep, create a to-do list
· Be active
o Exercise, walk, meditate, stretch
· Reduce your caffeine and sugar intake
· Reduce your alcohol consumption
· Practice mindfulness before sleeping the night before
o When you go to bed worried or wake up during the night with anxious thoughts, you are more likely to feel anxious and concerned about your day in the morning
Rebecca has a background in creative writing and a Masters of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She recently worked as an Assistant Editorial Manager for a children's book publishing company and is currently an intern at Breakthrough Mental Health Counseling.