Create a Morning Ritual to Calm Anxiety

Wednesday, May 31 2017 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Morning rituals can calm anxiety if you know what to include in them. Read this for tips to create a morning ritual that calms your morning 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:

Writing and repeating affirmations. Watching fish in an aquarium. Drinking tea, decaffeinated coffee, or even water. Taking a mindfulness walk. Mindfully eating something healthy. Journaling. Meditating. Deep breathing. Goal setting for the day (What does a great day mean to you today?). Making an action plan for a low-anxiety day (What steps are you going to take to create your great day?).

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).

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

View all posts by Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC.

Create a Morning Ritual to Calm Anxiety

Charlotte Howard
says:
May, 31 2017 at 1:59 pm

What a great post and so important to get into a routine and feel like there is something that can keep you busy to keep your anxiety from raising. Scratching things off a list is my favorite way to feel productive and ease some anxiety!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ellen Schoenberg
says:
June, 10 2017 at 10:36 am

Thank you Charlotte... I am trying.. Easiier said then done. Good to know there is a support group on yhr internet as my driving is limited...

May, 31 2017 at 6:40 pm

Thanks, Charlotte! I love your remark about being busy. I know it's cliche to say this, but for me busy hands are happy hands. And when those hands get to cross off items on a to-do list, they're really, really happy!

Ellen Schoenberg
says:
June, 7 2017 at 11:02 am

When I wake with morning anxiety and panic sometimes going along with it, I wrongly go back inundr the covers, which of course will not help... Iam in therapy and tried many coping skills....Still trying to keep going.. I have been widowed 7 years--Am almiost 88 and am in very good physical health.. family very supportive but after 59 years of a partner, is when this anxiety started... Am on a very minimal of pills but there is no such thing as a magic pill,, Looking for all the help I can get.. for some serenity and peace of mind.. Financially stable --- Live in a very nice Home owners Association but still miserable whenever I wake up and sometimes other parts of the day...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 7 2017 at 2:42 pm

Hi Ellen,
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.

Ellen Schoenberg
says:
June, 10 2017 at 10:27 am

thanks for your support.. That is help in itself.

Katie
says:
July, 8 2017 at 10:22 am

I'm 16 and despite being content in my life and happy with things around me I still wake up every morning panic and trembling with anxiety and I get the chills which sends me back under my covers, I never knew that other people had this happening to them aswell, my anxiety is so awful in the morning I even get to scared to leave my bed I feel like I'm going to die and my heart beats so quickly sometimes I think it's just going to stop, it also effects my sleep because I don't want to have to wake up in the morning feeling that way again so I stay up until the sun comes up then I go to bed, which is foolish because when I wake up I still go threw the same thing. I'm tired of losing sleep over this bevauee there's no reason it should be happening, I've tried yoga and meditation but I gave up because it became harder and harder to drag myself out of bed.. at this point I'm not really sure what to do other than just taking it

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 10 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hi Katie,
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!

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