Coping with 'morning anxiety' - Glamour Online

ended 03. December 2021

A journalist at Glamour Online is looking for views from psychologists on how to cope with morning anxiety, e.g. how can people differentiate between morning anxiety and a deeper anxiety disorder, and why do so many of us feel stressed/ nervous when we wake up? Just a few quick lines will do, as deadline is tight!


3 responses from the Newspage community

Many of us will have experienced morning anxiety at some point. For some it occurs regularly and its thought to be linked to the higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the mornings. Morning anxiety and lockdown anxiety has become worse during the pandemic as the uncertainty of what the day holds kick in. Healthy eating and breathing exercises can help prepare you for the day ahead. Make time to plan your day and rehearse any particular trigger points and how you can deal with these. This is not the same as anxiety disorder where symptoms are much more severe and impact on your daily functioning.
There are a number of factors that can cause morning anxiety, which is not a medical term but describes situational anxiety. If you are in a position of chronic stress, your cortisol level is elevated for the first hour of the day, likely generating an increase in anxiety. Having low blood sugar at waking also amplifies anxiety symptoms. Even going to bed the night before with anxious thoughts makes you more like to awake anxious about the day ahead. There are similarities between morning anxiety and anxiety disorders, and if this becomes a constant, frequent uncontrolled part of your everyday life, it is important to address this with a professional. And for morning anxiety itself, be mindful that quality of sleep, nutrition, levels of stress and coping mechanisms such has as alcohol can all impact the potential and intensity of worries, restlessness and overwhelm when you wake.
People can wake up feeling nervous or stressed for many different reasons. Sometimes these reasons are more obvious to us, maybe you have an exam, job interview, first date, or it is your first day back in the office. At other times these feeling might appear to creep up on us or appear out of nowhere which can make them harder to understand. As curious beings we often like to search for the reasons why we feel certain ways and so if you are feeling like this, consider these possibilities 1. Are you trying to be superwoman? The work - life balance scales are an ongoing life challenge – step back, reassess and give yourself a break! 2. Are you happy in your job? Or are you overwhelmed? Over worked? Unfulfilled? Speak to your manager or a supportive colleague 3. Have you considered the wider context? The Pandemic has made everyone feel slightly more anxious – you are not alone. 4. Are your thoughts rational and realistic? Or are you catastrophising, or using ‘all or nothing’ thinking –EX. I’m a success or a failure, nothing in between. The most important thing to do is to speak to someone about how you are feeling. Plan in smaller breaks in your day to and relax across the day too. Try to do some exercise. Get outside and go for a walk. Connect with friends. Write down three good things at the end of each day and re-read this in the morning. Try and reframe any unhelping thinking patterns and be kind and accepting of yourself and how you feel. You are not alone. If your feelings are combined with persistent anxious thoughts and physical symptoms of anxiety (possible example, racing heart, sweaty palms), occur every morning and are interfering with your ability to get on with your day, then do speak with your GP.