Waking up in the morning is already a pretty hefty task (hence the repetitive hitting of the snooze button, which is not a good thing, by the way). You know how they say the first step is always the hardest one to take? Well, worrying when you wake up in the morning constitutes as that very treacherous first step.
Believe it or not, there's a lot of responsibility that goes into waking up from a deep sleep (or even a not-so-deep snooze). You've got to sort your thoughts and adjust your mind to the idea of beginning an entirely new day, and if you think about it, waking up is a responsibility within itself. Unfortunately, for some of us, the sooner we wake up is the sooner we worry.
I mean, facing the new day means thinking about the new day, right? And thinking about the new day means ruminating on all the stressful sh*t that you eventually have to do, right?
If this is you, then that is your first mistake.
Life should not be a cluster of begrudging thoughts of “what do I have to do next?” If this is how you feel when you awake, then there is a lot of re-wiring that has to happen within your routine.
Elite Daily spoke with two experts who both explained why worrying in the morning is the absolute worst way to start your day.
“People who start the day worrying or thinking negative thoughts are setting the day up to be more difficult,” says Dr. Jude Miller Burke, Psychologist, Leadership Coach, and author of The Adversity Advantage. You would think that's a no brainer, right? Of course you shouldn't stress as soon as you awake. Well, you'd be surprised to know that anxiety affects almost 30 percent of adults in the United States, due to the fact that many people don't seek help, are misdiagnosed, or don't know they have issues with anxiety, according to Anxiety Centre.
It's so common, in fact, that many people with anxiety may not even realize that they're stressing, or they may not realize how their behavior in the morning provokes stress throughout your body later in the day.
This should come as no big shocker, but one of the activities pegged with enabling a worrisome morning most includes checking your phone, according to Dr. Burke. Dr. Burke says: “There are many bad ways to start your day, but you've probably heard one of the absolute worst is rolling over and grabbing your phone. When you start reading your emails right away, you're already increasing your stress levels before you even get a chance to get up."
According to psychotherapist Lena Franklin, who also spoke with Elite Daily for this piece, your tendency to grab your phone is reflective of your heavy and unhealthy dependence on your electronic device. “One of the most maladaptive habits people have created is to turn directly to their phones before getting out of bed, brushing their teeth... or even taking one deep breath, for goodness sakes,” Dr. Franklin says.
She continues that turning to your phone perpetuates what she calls “scarcity consciousness,” a feeling that you are never enough. You reach for your phone because the connectivity you get from this device makes you feel powerful. Without it, you feel powerless:
“This state of scarcity triggers significant stress levels which sends cortisol, a primary stress hormone, rushing through our bodies. Checking news headlines, work emails and social media via our phones, moments after our eyes open, catapults us into the physiological state of fight-or-flight, also call our sympathetic dominant nervous system. This stressful emotional state then stays with us throughout the day, making us more reactive, irritable, angry and exhausted,” Dr. Franklin says.
If you have this terrible habit, which most likely you do (because, let's be real, we all do), then thankfully, no, it's not the end of the world. Dr. Burke says that although starting off your day with worry does make things more difficult, it doesn't guarantee a terrible day. You're not doomed. Things can always be fixed.
Both Dr. Burke and Dr. Franklin suggest beginning the day with powerful intentions — the kind that exist outside of checking any devices. Dr. Franklin says:
“Instead of mindlessly checking your phone first thing, perhaps you take 10 deep breathes to align with your intention for the day. Something I teach in international retreats and corporate trainings is to begin the day with powerful intention. Before your feet hit the floor in the am, internally repeat, 'I am grateful for this brand new day before me.' Then, as you inhale, repeat the words 'I am,' and as you EXHALE, repeat the words 'present to my life.'
"Shifting from unconsciously checking your phone to using mindful intention sets you up for a day of balance, happiness, and success before you even step out of bed."
Understanding the science behind why you shouldn't worry (or, at the very least, start worrying the second after you open your eyes) can bolster your ability to halt those stressful thoughts when they arise. According to Dr. Burke, when you're under an unreasonable amount of stress on a day-to-day basis, your resilience and bounce-back ability depletes significantly.
“Practicing daily good self-care is like putting money in the bank,” she says.
So if there is anything to help that worrisome brain of yours to come to a complete halt, at least let it be logic. You want to get through the rest of your day? Try staying calm.