Anxiety can come over you like a flood when you least expect it, and mornings tend to be a common time for many to suffer. Although you may not be able to control when and where anxiety comes on, the good news is that you can decide whether you want to carry it around with you.
Aside from a generalized anxiety disorder, there are a few reasons why you may feel anxious upon waking.
- You didn’t resolve issues from the previous day. In our fast-paced society, we tend to run from one activity to the next, which invites stress to accumulate. If the inbox in your mind is filling up, it’s common to wake up thinking about your unresolved stuff from the day before (or the weeks and months before, for that matter).
- It could be physiological. There are conditions that can mimic anxiety. For example, having high cortisol levels in the morning can make your heart rate race, which than triggers what feels like anxiety. The same is true for hypoglycemia.
Things you can do to reduce your morning anxiety include:
- Get enough sleep so that your body to wake up on its own, without an alarm. This may sound unrealistic in, but it is possible. When your body isn’t jolted out of a peaceful sleep by the sounds of your iPhone, you will have less anxiety.
- Take a few deep breaths. Shallow breathing can elevate the heart rate. Taking deep breaths helps you slow it down and puts you back in control. I’ve always been amazed at how some people can drop their heart rate by over 20 beats per minute just with simple breathing techniques.
- Think about what you’re thinking about. If you’re the type to allow thoughts to bounce around in your mind like a pinball machine, you will be more likely to have feelings of anxiety. Your job is to take control of your thoughts and tell them what to do. You’re the boss! If you allow your thoughts to run wild, your feelings will soon follow. My book Build a Beautiful Life Out of Broken Pieces walks you through how to overcome toxic thoughts and live in freedom.
- Get organized. Studies show that just looking at a mess can raise your anxiety. So if your life and environment are disorganized, it makes sense that you would feel anxious. Grab a planner, hire a cleaning lady, do whatever you need to do to bring more organization in to your life. My favorite organizing technique is writing to-do lists. Even though it may take me a while to get to everything on the list, I know it’s all captured on paper and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of it in my head.
- Rebuke it. Fear is one of the enemy’s favorite tactics that he uses to rob you of your joy. Anxiety often comes when you fear that you are not in control of yourself or your circumstances. The next time you come under this kind of attack, remind yourself that God is in control and tell the enemy to beat it.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10
Anxiety may come on you but you can reduce your morning anxiety. God will gladly take all of your cares on him.