5 simple steps to relieve anxiety

#016: Morning Routine- 5 Simple Steps to Relieve Anxiety

In Body, Mind, Podcast, Spirit by Amy4 Comments

Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling anxious about the day? Maybe you have a task at hand that feels daunting, or a meeting that you are dreading?

Or do you sometimes just wake up feeling anxious about the unknown? Feeling unsure about the day (or week, or month, or future in general) has in store?

There are a lot of things that cause us to experience anxiety. But anxiety does not have to be an experience that takes over our morning or our day.

This is a morning routine that I use, that I find significantly changes the way I feel when I start my day. It’s just a few simple steps that, when followed daily, will start to have a significant impact on your life and the way you feel as you begin each new day.

Morning Routine- 5 Simple Steps to Relieve Anxiety

1) Practice Gratitude

The very first thing I do when I wake up (no matter how I’m feeling) is say, “Thank You.” I say it out loud, just to acknowledge my gratitude that I woke up and get to experience another day on earth.

Then, I write down three things I am grateful for today. I keep a gratitude journal next to my bed strictly for this purpose, and I write three things right after I wake up and right before I go to bed (before bed is great because it allows your subconscious mind to marinate in gratitude all night long while you’re asleep, which will also help you to wake up feeling less anxious).

I find that it works best not to repeat the same three things daily in a general manner (in other words, I don’t just say I’m grateful for my family, and for God, and for another day on the planet). What really makes a difference is to focus on 3 smaller things, maybe something specific for today, or something that you take for granted that you would miss if you no longer had access to it (your bed, running water, a roof over your head, etc).

Here are some ideas for topics you can use when you are writing in your gratitude journal:

  • A person- write one thing about a certain person that you are grateful for. You can write a new thing about the same person each time you do this exercise (your spouse, for example), or you can choose a different person each time. I find it’s good to mix it up because it helps me to realize how many amazing people I have in my life that I am grateful for. It’s also beneficial to write something you are grateful for in regard to a person who you are having trouble with at this time. This will help you to focus on the good aspects of that person, which will ultimately help you to heal that relationship.
  • An experience you are having- write one thing that you are noticing right now that you can be grateful for. For example, maybe you are grateful for the stillness in your house this morning, or for the sound of the birds chirping, or for the smell of your coffee brewing. Focusing on an experience like this is great because it helps you to be completely present, right here, right now, and to appreciate this moment in time.
  • Something you maybe take for granted, that you would miss if you no longer has access to it- write one thing that you currently have access to that you may not really think about or appreciate regularly, but that you would definitely miss if you no longer had it. For example, maybe you love to workout every day, you could be grateful that you have the ability to do that. Or you could express your gratitude for your cozy bed, or the fact that you have running water, or access to a hot shower. There are an endless number of things like this that we can be grateful for.

You can write more than three things you are grateful for if you want, but keeping it to 3 makes this exercise easy to practice every day because it literally only takes a minute, and that minute will have a significant impact on how the rest of your days pans out, especially if you do it daily.

And, once you fill up your gratitude journal, it’s fun and uplifting to go back and read through it before you start filling up another one. It’s definitely a really good read. 🙂

2) Set a Daily Purpose

Each day, I find it helpful to set an intention for what the purpose of my day will be. I like to use something that I can practice and keep in mind all day as I go about my daily tasks. It could be something like,

“I will choose to be peaceful no matter what.”

or

“I will be completely present in every conversation.”

No matter what I choose, I definitely notice that it helps me to keep my anxiety at bay when I have a daily purpose and intention.

3) Focus on Something Great That You Will Experience Today

Too often, upon waking, we tend to immediately think about the tasks at hand that we dread for that day. This is what causes anxiety.

So instead, I find it very helpful to focus on something great that will happen today. If there’s more than one great thing about today, I think about them all, but no matter what, we can always find at least one. Focusing on this will help you start your day with a positive outlook rather than a negative one. It will reframe your entire day!

4) Prayer and Meditation- Turn Your Day Over to God (Universe, Higher Power, etc)

Once I do the first 3 steps outlines above, I top it off by turning my day over to God. You can turn your day over to whatever serves you (God, the Universe, your Higher Power, or anything you prefer to call it). This is, hands down, the most powerful part of my morning.

I pray and ask God (Universe, etc) to direct my thinking and my actions. I surrender control completely and trust that everything will be handled in the highest and best good of all involved today. I simply let go.

I remember that I do not know what anything is for, even when I think I do. And I trust in God to show me the way.

I have a journal where I’ve written down some different prayers that I like to use, and I also often refer to Marianne Williamson’s book, Illuminata- A Return To Prayer.

This book has a whole table of contents so that you can easily find a prayer for any given situation or topic (Daily Prayers, Prayers for Relationships, Prayers for the Body, Prayers for Work and Creativity, Prayers for the World, etc). Each of those chapters is broken down into different prayers so you can get as specific as you want on any topic.

Personally, I really like the daily prayers, because they are all-encompassing. But if you prefer specific, there are certainly plenty of those to choose from.

Here’s an example of one of my favorite daily prayers from the book:

MORNING PRAYER

Dear God,
I give this day to You.
May my mind stay centered on things of spirit.
May I not be tempted to stray from love.
As I begin this day, I open to receive You.
Please enter where You already abide.
May my mind and heart be pure and true, and may I not deviate from the things of goodness.
May I see the love and innocence in all mankind, behind the masks we all wear and the illusions of this worldly plane.
I surrender to You my doings this day.
I ask only that they serve You and the healing of the world.
May I bring Your love and goodness with me, to give unto others wherever I go.
Make me the person You would have me be.
Direct my footsteps, and show me what You would have me do.
Make the world a safer, more beautiful place,
Bless all Your creatures.
Heal us all and use me, dear Lord, that I might know the joy of being used by You.
Amen

There are tons of other great prayers in that book, based on the specific topic you’d like to pray about.

And here’s another one that I keep in my journal, that I found in another one of Marianne’s books, called Everyday Grace. This is literally one of my favorite books of all time. It’s not all prayers, but there are definitely some really good ones in there.

Sometimes I just need a a little assistance with the wording of my prayers, and Marianne Williamson just happens to be my favorite teacher on this subject.

Here’s my go to morning prayer that I use every day, from Everyday Grace:

Dear God,
I give you this morning.
Please take away my despair of yesterday.
Help me to forgive the things that caused me pain and would keep me bound.
Help me to begin again.
Please bless my path and illumine my mind.
I surrender to You the day ahead.
Please bless every person and situation I will encounter.
Make me who You would have me be, that I might do as You would have me do.
Please enter my heart and remove all anger, fear and pain.
Renew my soul and free my spirit.
Thank you, God, for this day.
Amen

Once I say my prayers, I meditate. It’s a time where I just get to sit and listen for God’s voice and simply trust that everything will be handled today, in a way far greater than anything that I can control on my own.

By the end of my meditation I know this on a cellular level, and it just really helps me flow through my day in joy.

I highly suggest this, even if you only have 5 minutes. It’s been shown that spending even 5 minutes in the morning with God is enough to hand over your thinking and have it be handled in a higher way for the whole day. And God does respect our free will, so we just have to ask for help and it is given. I truly believe this.

5) Sweat

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to relieve anxiety. Sweat it out!

I try to work up a sweat every single morning (working out, running, boxing, etc)… and I notice a significant difference on the days when I don’t make it happen, like my whole day is off kilter.

So, just like with the meditation, even if you only have a little bit of time to fit it in, find a way to work up a sweat before you move forward with your day. You’ll be SO glad you did.

So these are the first 5 simple steps I take every morning relieve anxiety and to get my day started off in a state of peace and joy.

I have a few other things I do afterwards (run/walk on the beach, crank kirtan on Spotify and sing along in the shower, etc.) which also help my state for the start of my day. I recommend those things as well, but they may vary depending on your personal preferences (not everybody has a beach or likes to sing kirtan) :). Here’s a link to my kirtan playlist on Spotify if you want to hear some of my current favorites.

I can pretty much guarantee though that if you start to apply the five steps every day, you will start to see a major change in the way you start your day, and some major changes in your life as well.


The audio (podcast) version of all of this is at the top of this post.

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I seriously love you with all my heart…

We will talk again soon.

 

 

 

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I’d love to hear from you…

Leave me a comment below and tell me if this was helpful. 🙂

 

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Comments

  1. You’re amazing. I love your clarity. These 5 steps are a total game changer. They have to be! I have them all written down for myself. I’ve gotten squirly with my morning routine. I love the commitment you have developed and I am ON IT!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Linda! Yay! Let me know how they work out for you. Yes, they do have to be if they are used every day, right? There’s no way they wouldn’t be. 🙂

  2. Found you through the transformation room. What a great podcast-clear, honest, vulnerable and practical. I love your level of simplicity yet rigorous discipline and commitment to the path.
    Another addition to the morning routine? Commitment to eating a healthy breakfast!
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Kelly! Yes, eating a healthy breakfast is key for sure. I don’t eat until later in the morning though… after I exercise and shower… so I just mentioned my steps for the beginning of the morning right after I wake up. But I LOVE this tip! xo

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