It can be difficult for an anxious mind to find peace and grounding throughout the day. We don’t have control over anxiety. We do, however, have control over our habits, and certain habits can lessen the hold that anxiety may have on us. If you experience anxiety in your daily life, start with small, actionable steps that you can take every single morning, and go from there. Your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, so it’s important that what you do in that time is conducive to your inner peace. Here are five, easy-to-do morning practices to help reduce anxiety throughout the rest of your day. Remember, little hinges swing big doors.
1. Stay off your phone for at least an hour.
Most people check their phones immediately upon waking. Though this may seem like an inconsequential act, checking your phone as soon as you wake up is known to have detrimental effects on your brain. When you wake, your brain begins to slowly transition from a sleeping state to a waking state. This highly creative and reflective time is immediately disturbed when engaged in a virtual world filled with bad news, status updates, work tasks, and distracting information. With so many things immediately grabbing at your attention and triggering your stress response, there’s no longer space to be present with yourself and how you’re feeling. We all have relentless minds, and feeding into the frenzy with smartphone use first thing in the morning will only lead to more distraction and unease. If you make it a habit to stay off your phone for at least the first hour of the day, you’ll likely notice a marked difference as you go about your day.
2. Move your body.
After a long night of stillness, moving your body is an incredible way to release stagnant energy and improve your mood. Going through some simple stretches can relieve tension and stress, encourage deep breathing, and get blood flowing. Stretching has even been proven to increase dopamine levels. All of these benefits directly combat physical symptoms of anxiety and stress, so making it a habit can significantly improve your mental health. Getting out of your head and into your body is crucial.
3. Write a gratitude journal
Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to lessen anxiety. A gratitude mindset has shown to make you feel better, put things into perspective, and train your brain to focus on the good rather than the bad. Anxiety is all about the future—what might be lacking, what might go wrong. Shifting your focus to what is right and good in your life in the present moment will have a lasting effect on the rest of your day. Cultivating gratitude first thing in the morning, and carrying it with you for the rest of the day, is a lovely and very strong practice to improve mental health.
4. Make your bed
Your outer world reflects your inner world. Thus, having a neat and organized atmosphere can help you feel a sense of peace within. Many studies have actually shown the mental health implications of having a messy environment versus a tidy one. One simple way to achieve better mental health through your environment is by making your bed. By doing this tiny action every single morning, you can experience a multitude of positive benefits. Making your bed is proven to reduce anxiety symptoms and give you a sense of calm, a boost of confidence, and a feeling of accomplishment that you’ll carry with you as you go about your day. Even the act of making your bed is a calming and grounding practice in itself.
5. Eat a nourishing meal
Although anxiety is in the mind, it can have very real physical effects. Oftentimes, anxiety makes it difficult to eat. Your body, however, needs energy to fight that anxiety and stress. Not eating enough causes the body to release stress hormones which can actually make symptoms of anxiety much worse. Bringing physical comfort and security to your body, then, can really help with anxious feelings. Starting your day with a nourishing breakfast is the perfect way to do this. Enjoy a comforting, nutritious, plant-based meal to ground you. Let your body know that it’s safe.
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