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Easy and Effective Tips to Get Rid of Morning Anxiety

Apart from the Sunday Scaries, weekday morning anxiety is more commonplace than you think. Despite this notion, there are simple, natural, and drug-free ways to combat your AM anxiety in about five minutes. It might just be a small amount of time, but this payoff could make your morning — and potentially your whole day — a lot better and less stressful. That’s a great return on your time investment! 

Below is a list of things to do as soon as you wake up and feel panicky. As said above, these only take about five minutes of your time with a big boost in a sense of calm and wellbeing. Try one of these 10 simple ways to lower stress, boost your mood, and get more energy. It might give you that extra spark you need to meet the challenges of the day, or at the very least get you through your morning in a good and calm headspace. 

1. Make your bed.

This isn’t about being a clean freak. It’s a small ritual that can help create a calm environment for you in your bedroom. A soothing bedroom should be a part of your daily “sleep hygiene” habits.

Author Gretchen Rubin recommends making your bed as a daily habit in her book, The Happiness Project. She recommends doing it the first thing in the morning. This way, you’ve got one less thing to worry about for the rest of the day, and you can look forward to slipping under the clean and neat covers when you turn in for the night. 

2. Pack a snack.

Before you head out the door in the morning, prep a healthy snack to take with you. Ideas include fruit, unsalted nuts, and low-fat cheese or yogurt. When you get hungry later in the afternoon, you’ll be ready! Cutting back on processed food will derail you from midday mood/hunger swings and sugar crashes.

3. Clear your desk.

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From stray papers to scattered coffee mugs, clutter can make you lose focus and curb productivity. Declutter your outer environment, and you may feel more organized and better able to concentrate on the task at hand. If it seems overwhelming, throw out one thing at a time.

4. Pump up the music.

Several studies have found that listening to music can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost your mood. The right music has the power to change your attitude. Create a playlist that will make you smile, whether you’re working or working out. This is a safe and healthy way to make your day more enjoyable and manageable. 

5. Sniff a lemon.

For a quick de-stressing trick, turn to an underrated sense — your sense of smell. Japanese researchers found that linalool, a substance found in lemons, may turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response. If lemons aren’t your thing, try basil, eucalyptus, or lavender, as these scents have also been found to lower your cortisol levels. 

6. Stretch

No need to put on your yoga pants or get all bendy. A few easy moves will do. Stretch your arms overhead. Raise and lower your shoulders a couple of times. Stretch your legs as you lean your torso against a wall. Be gentle, so as not to overdo it.

Stretching can help improve your circulation and flexibility, and may help ease the tight muscles that come with stress. 

7. Meditate 

It’s easier and simpler than you may think. Settle into a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor. Proceed to follow your breath, in and out, for a few minutes. Thoughts are bound to bubble up in your mind. Let them float on by, and turn your attention back to your breath. Meditating daily, even for just a few minutes, may help tame stress. 

8. Keep a gratitude diary.

Take a minute every day to write down what you’re thankful for, big or small. It’s easy to vent about weather, traffic, or job woes, but complaining brings negative energy along with it. Being thankful for what you have can make you appreciate all the positives in your life. 

9. Turn off your electronics.

Take a little break from all your gadgets, especially as soon as you wake up. Staring at computer screens and electronics in the AM can zap your energy and encourage inactivity, dread, and fear. Just because the world is on 24/7, doesn’t mean that you have to be. While it’s tempting to get obsessed, and worried about the Coronavirus , and the tumbling turbulent stock market, it will only add more stress to your sacred AM, so be mindful of what you watch and listen to.

10. Prioritize

Give yourself permission to admit that you can’t do everything all at once. Instead, you can nibble away at your to-do list, and feel more satisfied by setting some priorities and boundaries. Not everything is an emergency, so take the time to figure out what’s truly important in your list of tasks, and go from there. Other things can wait. This method will also help to sharpen your focus and raise your productivity levels. So make a list, figure out what really matters, what can wait, and what you can skip. Work your way down the list, handling your top priorities first. This method might seem elementary, but it works, especially when we feel overwhelmed and anxious.

The list above is very simple, and intuitive, yet many of us wake up in a panic without making any adjustments to our mental health routine in the AM. Bit by bit, you’ll get there, and if you commit to this practice on a consistent basis as your new and improved morning way of life, you will start appreciating your mornings more because of the sense of calm and wellness that it brings you into your new day.

References:

Rubin, G. (2009). The Happiness Project. Harper Collins.

Campbell, D. (2001). The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit. Quill.

Nakamura, A., Fujiwara, S., Matsumoto, I., Abe, K. (2009). Stress repression in restrained rats by (R)-(−)-linalool inhalation and gene expression profiling of their whole blood cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2009 57 (12), 5480-5485. DOI: 10.1021/jf900420g

Cannard, G. (1996) The effect of aromatherapy in promoting relaxation and stress reduction in a general hospital. Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery, 2(2), 38-40.

Speca, M., Carlson, L.E., Goodey, E., & Angen, M. (2000). A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: the effect of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62(5), 613-22.

McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J.-A., & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in Intermediate Affective Terrain: Links of Grateful Moods to Individual Differences and Daily Emotional Experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2), 295–309. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.86.2.295

Kuiper, N.A., & Martin, R.A. (1998). Laughter and Stress in Daily Life: Relation to Positive and Negative Affect. Motivation and Emotion 22, 133–153. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021392305352

Easy and Effective Tips to Get Rid of Morning Anxiety


Emily Waters

Emily Waters earned her Master's degree in industrial psychology with an emphasis in human relations. She possesses keen insight into the field of applied psychology, organizational development, motivation, and stress, the latter of which is ubiquitous in the workplace environment and in one’s personal life. One of her academic passions is the understanding of human nature and illness as it pertains to the mind and body. Prior to obtaining her degree, she worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Presently, she teaches a variety of psychology courses both in public and private universities.

APA Reference
Waters, E. (2020). Easy and Effective Tips to Get Rid of Morning Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 12, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/easy-and-effective-tips-to-get-rid-of-morning-anxiety/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Mar 2020 (Originally: 16 Mar 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Mar 2020
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