When you live with anxiety, starting your day can be scary. Even if you slept well—which is often a problem when you have anxiety—your thoughts might weigh you down before you ever get out of bed.
You may be filled with worries about the many tasks ahead of you. Perhaps you worry about having a panic attack on the road. Or maybe you’re concerned about how your anxiety disorder will impact your ability to go to work, get groceries, or deal with other people.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you start your day feeling more empowered. As challenging as it may seem, you can be proactive in your battle against anxiety. The ideas below are all ways that you can help calm your mind and your thoughts to set yourself up for a great day.
1. Sleep Well
One of the best steps you can take to start your day with a sense of control is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. As mentioned, sleep can be elusive when you have anxiety. But finding ways to get more sleep is possible.
For example, avoiding blue light from electronics in the evening, keeping your room as dark and cool as possible, and listening to white noise are all frequent tips.
Several of the steps below can also help significantly in achieving a better night’s sleep.
2. Avoid Caffeine and Sugar
You’ve likely heard that caffeine and sugar can contribute to feelings of anxiety. If you’re accustomed to starting your day with a strong cup of coffee and a pastry, this can be a hard change to make. Many people self soothe through food, and sweets often top the list. Look into replacements that will still taste good.
Caffeine and sugar withdrawals are a real thing for many. But it’s worth giving it a try to see if you feel less jittery without the presence of a natural stimulant in your bloodstream.
3. Mindfulness Practices
Mindfulness can encompass any number of behaviors that will help slow your thoughts. If you’ve never tried mindfulness techniques before, you can start small. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Practicing stilling your mind and focusing on your breathing. Try intensely focusing on a tiny, pleasurable thing, like the taste of a berry or soft socks on your feet.
Moving your body is an excellent way to burn off emotional energy and take your mind off of your worries. It helps your lungs open wider and brings more oxygen into your body and brain. Exercise also releases natural endorphins that can boost your mood. And, wearing yourself out physically can help a lot at bedtime.
5. Envisioning Success
The cycle of anxiety often draws upon a negative feedback loop between your brain and your body. The anxiety-laden messages you give yourself, even unconsciously, can create the physical sensations that we associate with anxiety.
Fortunately, you can learn to retrain your brain. When you feel nervous about something, take a moment to challenge that thought. Speak back to it and replace it with something more positive. This approach can feel stilted and false at first. But with practice, it honestly does work.
Before you tackle your day, pause to give yourself positive messages about yourself and your abilities. Picture yourself going about your day calmly and with confidence. Athletes and other professionals use this technique all the time. It works.
If you’re living with anxiety, you’re probably tired of it. Getting in touch with an anxiety counselor is also a great step to take. I’ve worked with many people over the years who’ve dealt with a wide range of anxiety disorders. If you’d like to learn more about working with me, I’d love to hear from you.