This morning habit is a must if you have anxiety

It’s no secret that the way you start your morning has a direct impact on the rest of your day. If you wake up late, rush around the house frantically, and stress about what’s to come, you’ll likely experience more of the same. Having a morning meditation routine, however, offers a powerful way to clarify how you want to feel that day. Especially if you suffer from anxiety, sitting down to quiet your thoughts before the day begins is imperative to maintaining a healthy state of mind.

Getting up earlier to meditate may also make you feel more rested. Since meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system — aka your rest-and-digest mode — it creates a feeling of deep relaxation that releases energy-boosting endorphins (via MindBodyGreen). This boost can be so powerful that you may even find that you need less caffeine, a substance linked to higher levels of anxiety for those who are sensitive to it. 

By starting your day in a peaceful mode, the rest of your experience can flow in the same direction. Even though outside events may remain the same — traffic, screaming kids, etc. — you’re starting to exercise your relaxation muscle, which will allow you to flow more easily as you encounter the stressors of daily life. Plus, the Mayo Clinic found that meditation is the best way to offset stress, helping the mind, body, and spirit recover.

Start your meditation practice slowly

If waking up earlier sounds like a nightmare, ease into your meditation practice by setting your alarm for five minutes earlier. By creating a routine that you can faithfully maintain, you’ll be much more likely to actually follow through with your practice, making your day that much more peaceful. You may have heard an avid meditator in your life say that they don’t have time not to meditate. This is particularly true because having a morning practice can enhance your productivity levels, too (via Chopra).

By clearing your mind first thing in the morning, you enhance your ability to focus. When you meditate, it helps you practice coming back to the present moment, thereby bringing your mind into a state of pure focus. With your energy already focused and relaxed, you can head into your day with a higher level of proactivity and ease.

Meditating also helps you set the tone of your day rather than having the day set it for you. Especially when anxiety creeps in, you’ll already have established your foundation by sitting down to be peaceful for a few moments. Start small, even if that means just focusing on your breathing for a few moments in the morning — and stick with it! It takes time to work on your relaxation muscle. After all, it’s called a practice for a reason.

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