When your mind is racing, panicking, looping, and just working too hard to handle unnecessary emotions, it is absolutely exhausting. After a not-so-great day, going to bed is almost exciting because I know I finally get to rest my mind and get some relief from my anxiety. However, the hard part is the mornings. Some days I wake up with all the
hope in the world. The sun shining through my window, my wonderful boyfriend softly snoring next to me, and usually an uplifting text from a friend always fill me with joy. I feel ready for a day full of life and beauty. However, that’s not always the case. Other days, waking up is just awful. It feels like I wake up and suddenly remember the nightmare I sometimes live, filled with anxiety. I start to dread the day ahead of me because I remember all the feelings and fear I had to face the day before and will possibly have to face again. On those days, I just want to go back to sleep.
There are many ways to uplift your mood in the morning and I have found a number of things that have helped me get my day started on a better note. I have had many suggestions from different people and some of those things work for me and some don’t. However, I’ll mention them all because what works for one person may not work for another and vice versa. Lately, I’ve noticed that when I wake up I feel fine until I remember my anxiety. It’s as if my mind is saying “Don’t forget the pain!” Stupid mind.
So a good idea is to just shut up your mind right from the start. Once you wake up and come back to the world, stretch out a bit, hug your pillow close, snuggle up and take a few deep breaths. Remember the comfort and beauty around you. Then, there are a few approaches you can take: physically, nutritionally, mentally.
– One therapist told me that in order to get “happy chemicals” going, I should get up right away, blast a fun song, and then sing and dance my heart out. Scream the lyrics, jump around like a maniac, wave all your limbs around. Look as stupid as possible basically, but feel great doing so.
– For those of you who have roommates like I do and don’t have the freedom or confidence to take that approach, there are other options. I’m sure we’ve all heard this a million times, but go for a walk or a run. If it’s a sunny day, the sun will warm up your soul. If it’s a rainy day, enjoy each drop that touches your skin. Pay close attention to your senses as you walk around. Don’t walk and worry, just walk and enjoy the moment.
– Go to the gym and have a hard work out. Get those endorphines going! Running always makes me feel great. It gives me a natural high and starting my day off on a healthy note puts me in a better mood right away.
– Yoga is always a great activity for calming the mind. It helps at any time of the day, but if you’re like me and mornings are particularly difficult, it is helpful to have a yoga class you get up and go to right away.
– Eat a great breakfast. Make sure you have protein and carbohydrates. It’s the healthiest way to start your day and it gives you energy. Remember, anxiety uses up a lot of energy mentally and physically. You need to start your day off with a good breakfast in order to build up the strength to conquer those frustrating emotions and thoughts that may arise.
– Coffee. I know there are plenty of studies that say coffee and any caffeine can make anxiety worse, but personally it helps me. I feel more alert and awake, which actually helps calm my mind. I don’t feel like I’m missing something while writing a paper or whatever. Also, anyone who is a regular coffee drinker knows how comforting the smell of coffee can be. So, that’s a plus as well.
– Yogurt! One time I was in a state of utter dread. I ate a nice big cup of yogurt and talked with my roommate for a bit and I swear it made me calmer. When I explained that to my parents, they just giggled and said whatever works, works and to just go with it. Then, just the other day I read an article on unexpected foods to lift your mood and yogurt was on there. I know it sounds weird, but it worked for me, so maybe it’ll work for you!
– When you wake up and suddenly feel those unwanted feelings grab your cell phone or laptop. I know not everybody has a smartphone, but if you do, get Instagram and follow photographers who upload photos that bring up positive emotions in you. I post mostly photos of nature or yummy food or my dogs. Photos that make me feel good, so feel free to follow me: samrushh. When I wake up the first thing I do is look at photos that make me feel good. It reminds me of the beauty my day could be filled with. Also, follow people on Twitter who post inspirational and uplifting quotes. Before you get out of bed, look at wonderful photos that remind you of beauty and read quotes or articles that give you hope. It really has helped me on a daily basis. Social media can be used for so many things. No one is too old or too young when it is used right. Use these tools to your advantage!
– Meditate. I will be posting about meditation many times on this blog. It has proven to be effective in treating stress and anxiety and I am living proof of that. When you start your day, meditate before you do anything else. That way you quiet your mind and relax instead of waking up and starting the marathon your mind likes to run. For those of you who haven’t tried meditation I HIGHLY recommend you start. I resisted it for years and then finally started and it has made more of a difference than anything else I have tried. Check out my post about meditation on my other blog: HERE.
– Read a bit of a book that comforts you. For me, this book was The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I read it for 15 minutes every morning before heading to work or class or whatever. It was a nice reminder to stay present, observe your mind (instead of being it), and to just be. I’ll be writing more about this book in the future. I also HIGHLY recommend it. It has helped me and millions of other people. Reading something also gives your mind something positive to focus on. It helps prevent the mind racing that can start so suddenly the moment you awake.
– Don’t set your alarm for a time that will cause you to be rushed. Set your alarm so that you have at least 15 extra minutes to do calming activities when you wake up. It will also help reduce your stress from the start because you won’t be rushed. You will have time to breathe.
– Drink a glass of water. Water is very grounding and not starting your day off dehydrated is helpful in every area of life.
– Talk to a loved one. A nice 10 or 15 minute catch up phone call is heart warming and reminds you that you have support and love in your life.
– Decide on a treat you will give yourself that day. If you have an awesome date planned for that night, then great. If you have no fun plans and it seems like it’s going to be a long day of stress and exhaustion, then throw a few pieces of chocolate or something in your bag or car. A nice little pick me up to put a smile on your face.
– For those of you who are religious, or even those who aren’t. Praying for a good day filled with peace puts your mind in the right place from the start.
These are my suggestions for you. If you have other suggestions you think I should add to the list, just send me a message! We have to help each other out. Also, there are certain things that have worked for me that may not work for you. Some of these suggestions aren’t really up my alley, but they may be just right for you. You won’t know until you try!
Keep trying and keep hope. Starting your day off anxiety free will have wonderful effects on the rest of your day!