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Managing morning anxiety

January 27, 20234 min read

Morning anxiety struggle:

Its Monday morning and you have the busiest day ahead of you and meetings every hour on the hour.

The minute your alarm goes off that feeling of doom and panic and the horrible knot in your stomach is there. You haven’t even been in the shower yet and already you are feeling anxious and fearing getting through the day.  Does this sound like you?

And that feeling of anxiety first thing in the morning?  It is NOT the way you want to start your day.

Is your Cortisol flowing?:

There are two main things that cause morning anxiety.

The first thing is……… Cortisol.

Cortisol is a major hormone that is essential to life. It is known as the stress hormone and is produced in your adrenal glands which are on top of your kidneys. When your body is under stress it produces cortisol and adrenaline. These are the fight, flight and freeze hormones and are needed to keep you alive and safe. In our cave days they were there to help you flee from the tiger. To give you energy, focus and make you alert. In modern days ‘the scary tiger’ now equates to a new job, a breakdown in a relationship and all the daily politics going on in the office.

Cortisol’s main job is to:

  1. Increase your blood sugar and your energy

  2. Stabilise your blood pressure

  3. Reduce inflammation

It is needed to get you up in the morning. Ready and alert to face the day full of energy and motivated to deal with ‘the tiger’

Cortisol is produced in a cycle and is highest in the morning and should reduce as the day goes on, so you are ready at bedtime for sleep. This cycle is called the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR)

It is a normal physiological cycle in your body. For the first 30-45 minutes when you first wake up it is normal to feel this energy and alertness. (Can you imagine the size of your knot in your stomach when ‘the tiger’ is pouncing at you) But this early morning physical feeling interferes with your ability to think calmly, plan for the day ahead and makes you think ‘I AM ANXIOUS’

Stop listening to your 'CRAZY':

The second thing is…….your crazy lady/crazy man mind.

Your crazy lady/man mind is the part of your mind that is just not true. There is YOU and then there is the crazy part that is just not true.

You know the part I’m talking about! That constant negative narrative which comes from your subconscious mind. The voice that tells you ‘You can’t cope’ ‘you aren’t confident enough to do your job anymore’ ‘everyone else is better than you’ and on and on it goes. The minute your alarm goes off in the morning there it is catastrophising and ruining your day.

So it becomes a negative cycle. You wake up and cortisol is higher, you ‘feel’ anxious. Then crazy lady/man starts you ‘thinking’ you are anxious.

And on and on it goes.

Tomorrow, do this!:

Tomorrow morning when you wake up give this a go:

  1. Gently remind yourself that this feeling in the morning is normal. That it is cortisol.

  2. Don’t lie in bed chatting to your crazy voice. Get up.

  3. For 1-2 minutes shake your body. Shake off the adrenalin and cortisol. Like you are running away from ‘the tiger’

  4. Then move really really slowly. Like so slowly. Like the slowest you can move. Not rushing to get the kids up or rushing to get in the shower. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Into the bathroom or kitchen to make a coffee (and please make sure it’s a decaf coffee. Caffeine is the worst thing for morning anxiety.)

  5. For the first 20 minutes in the morning go SLOW. Filling the kettle. Having your shower. Perhaps sitting down for that time and breathing or meditating.  Nothing else.

  6. Keep reminding yourself gently that you are safe, you are well and that what you are feeling is the normal physiology of how your body works.

  7. Do not pour your crazy lady/crazy man a coffee or let it into the shower with you. This is YOUR time.

If you would like to know more about managing your crazy lady/man then why not join my Now Step Community.

Or come along and join my FREE Facebook Group - You v's Anxiety

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Lyn Penman

GLOBAL LEADING SOLUTION FOCUSED MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT Founder of The Now Step Method | Best Selling Author | Psychotherapist | Mindfulness Expert | Cold Water Therapy Practitioner

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