Create a Morning Ritual to Calm Anxiety
It's possible to calm the anxiety you experience during the day simply by creating a morning ritual. Whether anxiety obnoxiously wakes you before your alarm sounds or greets you loudly the moment you're awake, beginning the day with anxious thoughts, troubled emotions, and agitated bodily sensations is exhausting and discouraging. Yet if you create a morning ritual to calm anxiety, it doesn't have to ruin your day before it even begins.
The Nature of Anxiety-Calming Morning Rituals
Ritual has been integral to human wellbeing, for individuals as well as groups small and large, through time and across cultures. Having rituals is soothing to the psyche because they’re imbued with meaning. Further, they’re done regularly and predictably so they become comfortingly rhythmic. Rituals impact our inner world, which is why having an anti-anxiety ritual in the morning is so effective in reducing anxiety and positively influencing your day.
To be most effective in reducing anxiety in the morning, your ritual should take place as close to the same time each day as possible. This will establish a routine that your brain will come to recognize and rely on. Further, your brain will in time make a strong association between the time of day, place of the ritual, activities done, and reduced anxiety. In other words, simply seeing or being otherwise reminded of the ritual will come to induce calm.
Another essential element of ritual is the space you create. Pick a comfortable, pleasant place for your morning anti-anxiety ritual so that it’s physically enjoyable for you. In the video at the end of this post, I discuss this idea further, and I invite you to tune in for more information.
Examples of Morning Rituals for Calming Anxiety
The why, what, and where of an anxiety-reducing ritual are all important, but they don’t provide the entire picture. It’s helpful to also know the how: how are rituals done to counteract anxiety right away in the morning?
One of the beautiful things about having a regular activity to manage anxiety is that you get to create what best suits you, your personality, and your unique anxiety. The main idea is to have an activity, something you do each morning at a set time and in a set place, to induce peace and calm and reduce anxiety. It’s often most helpful if your activity is simple and something you enjoy doing. Some examples of activities for morning rituals:
These are just a few examples of activities you can do for your morning ritual to calm anxiety. Whatever you do, do what brings you joy, peace, and a sense of calm (Reduce Morning Anxiety With These 5 Useful Tips).
NCC, T. (2017, May 31). Create a Morning Ritual to Calm Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2017/05/create-a-morning-ritual-to-calm-anxiety
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
I love that you started by saying that you're content in your life. Anxiety can be miserable, so sometimes people become so focused on it that they almost forget that other parts of their lives are going well. You haven't forgotten that! That doesn't make your anxiety disappear, of course, but it's a thought to hang on to and something to pay attention to -- you have reasons to get up and moving in the morning. Knowing those can help. Also, there are different causes of anxiety. Not all of them have to do with situations in our lives. Anxiety can be triggered by external situations, and it is also brain-based. Also, you're 16. Your hormones are changing a great deal and have yet to settle down (okay, fun fact -- I'm not sure if they ever fully "settle down," but right now they're more erratic than they will be later. :) These hormonal changes can cause anxiety. If you are using a birth control pill, that might be contributing, too. There are so may different types, and different types affect people uniquely. I encourage you to see a doctor to see if your morning anxiety could be biological in nature. Also, when our sleep gets out of whack, anxiety usually thrives. Gradually working back to your regular sleep pattern can help a great deal, too. You don't have to just take it!
While of course I can't (and wouldn't even think about) know all about you based on your comment, I'll go out on a limb and say that it seems to me that you are someone who sees the positive in life, is grateful for the good in her life, and knows that there is good. I'd say, too, that you are strong and have hope given that you are in therapy, have tried coping skills, and keep going even when it's hard. That's amazing, and I hope you appreciate that about yourself! It also sounds like you are struggling with loss and possibly loneliness. While you're not truly alone, you don't have the same type of companionship that you did with your husband. Are there grief groups in your area? Maybe your therapist knows of some. Have you ever concentrated on grief and loss with your therapist? If not, it might be worth exploring.