When it comes to stress and anxiety, starting off on the right foot is crucial to maintaining a calm and collected mindset for a full 24 hours. Just as breakfast is an important meal because it provides nourishment and energy for your daily grind, easing into your day will help keep the pesky anxieties of your normal routine at bay. If you want to leverage a peaceful mentality as much as possible, it's good to start at the very beginning: right when you wake up. Here are a few small things you can do to in the morning to have less anxiety during the day:
Running late and rushing through your morning routine can quickly turn a pleasant mood into a sour one. Waking up a little earlier allows you to ease into your day and leaves room for tiny setbacks (like traffic or lost keys) that would otherwise turn into a huge headache.
Having more time in the morning can even effect your disposition. While those who identify themselves as "night owls" may express traits such as creativity and intelligence, they are also more closely linked to depression and pessimism. Studies have shown that people who get up earlier are likely to be more optimistic, agreeable, and exhibit a general sense of satisfaction.
Allow Yourself to Wake Up Gently
Have you ever heard your alarm's ringtone in the middle of the day and immediately felt stressed out and irritated? That's because when we wake up abruptly from a loud noise, our body responds with shock from being jarred awake. When we're shocked, we naturally release stress hormones. Instead of setting up your morning alarm with obnoxious beeps or buzzes, try to use softer sounds that won't roughly jolt you awake but rouse you gently. This way, even if you're getting up earlier than you normally would, you can mimic the natural way of waking up.
Never Skip Breakfast
Breakfast didn't get its reputation as the "most important meal of the day" for nothing. During the night while we sleep, our brain is deprived of the nutrients it would normally get from food. It responds by triggering adrenaline that activates a heightened sensitivity to our surroundings and various stimuli. For those who are particularly vulnerable to anxiety in the mornings, this decrease in blood sugar might be at fault. Even if you don't feel hungry, you're running low on energy which causes sluggishness, depression, and stress. If you want to start your day on the right foot, never skip breakfast─even if it's just a small granola bar or smoothie.
Practice Positive Affirmations
Research done by Harvard biologist, Christoph Randler, found that self-proclaimed "morning people" were more ambitious and proactive. They were more likely to identify with statements such as "I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself" and "I feel in charge of making things happen." Creating a disciplined positivity that will endure the entire day must be practiced as soon as you get up. Instead of thinking "five more minutes" when you hear your alarm, think "today will be a great day," even if you don't necessarily feel that way. Affirming yourself in the morning will help give you confidence to battle the stress that might come in the later hours.
Date of original publication: April 09, 2014.
Updated on May 25, 2017 .
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