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The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety

The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety

Anxiety. I call it a brick wall.

I want to enjoy time with my friends and family… Brick wall.

I want to go to work… Brick wall.

I want to go on holiday… Brick wall.

I want to enjoy my life… Brick wall.

Constantly hitting this brick wall gets exhausting and makes things in life very difficult.

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When you suffer from anxiety, everything you used to do that you once enjoyed feels impossible. There’s a great big brick wall in the way, which makes everything feel out of reach and difficult to obtain. This brick wall is filled with an overload of stress hormones, crippling symptoms, and debilitating thoughts.

Now, I could talk all day about the symptoms and how tough it is, but that’s not going to get me anywhere, or you for that matter. There’s one question we need to talk ask ourselves: What actions can you take to relieve anxiety?

What if I told you that you can make this wall a lot easier to get over? Not through therapy or medication, but with your own specific actions that I call “Lifestyle Triggers”. Stick with me, I’m going to teach you what these lifestyle triggers are and how they fit into the perfect morning routine that truly relieves anxiety.

Sounds good, right? Let’s get to it.

The Biological Problem and Lifestyle Triggers

Everyone looks at anxiety as a psychological problem. This is most people’s first mistake.

Sure, anxiety can be triggered by negative thoughts and thought cycles, but the body is designed to be able to endure negative thoughts. The problems and symptoms really start when it turns into a physical, biological problem.

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Normally, there is a good balance between stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and feel-good neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). These complement each other and they create what I call a “Hormone Harmony”, as this balance creates serenity throughout the body.

With me so far? Good, let’s keep going.

The uncontrollable symptoms of anxiety start when the adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones are too high. In combination with that, the feel-good neurotransmitters are too low. To put it simply, your anxiety symptoms are caused by a hormone disharmony.

This is good news, believe it or not. Let me explain.

Now that you know what the physical problem is, you just need to know how to reverse it. Let’s start with your morning routine. Remember earlier when I spoke about lifestyle triggers? What are they exactly?

Lifestyle triggers are small daily actions that can reverse the damage done to your overall hormone harmony. Then, hey presto! Your stress hormones and anxiety will start to decrease.

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The Morning Routine

The morning routine consists of three of these lifestyle triggers that work to help improve your hormone harmony. They are as follows:

1. Ten Minutes Of Flexible Exercise

I call this flexible exercise because it’s so short that it can fit in with any lifestyle. It’s far better to exercise in this way if you’re anxious. Why? Because if your stress hormones are already higher than they should be (due to anxiety), normal exercise will increase them further. It’s very important to remember exercise is a stress to the mind and body itself.[1]

Because flexible exercise is so brief, it allows the body to adapt to the stress of exercise. This has a normalizing effect on your stress hormones adrenaline/cortisol and reduces them when you’re at rest. I call this effect creating a “Positive Exercise-Stress Axis”.

2. Five Minutes Of Calm Breathing

After the flexible exercise burst, perform five minutes of calm breathing. This is a very simple but crucial lifestyle trigger that, when performed daily, trains your body to breathe correctly. This helps to calm your nervous system and ultimately continues to reduce those anxiety-causing hormones.

To practice calm breathing, follow these steps:

  • Sit in a quiet place with good posture
  • Keep your head up and shoulders back, so your airway is open
  • Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Ensure your stomach extends with each breath, to ensure deep breathing
  • Repeat these actions for five minutes

3. Eat A Complete Meal

The last lifestyle trigger is to eat a complete meal. In the mornings, this means eating breakfast. To decrease any anxiety, take it a step further to mean a complete meal. So what is a complete meal? A complete meal is a meal that has the a balance of all three of the macronutrients that the body needs. These are your fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.[2]

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Traditional breakfasts tend to be imbalanced with refined carbohydrates. An imbalanced breakfast like this creates an up and down effect on sugar levels. This makes your body release even more stress hormones. It does this to try and stabilize your sugar levels.

Eating a complete meal stops this problem and reduces stress hormones. A good complete meal to try would be: a high protein yogurt, whole oats, blueberries, and almonds.

So there they are, the three lifestyle triggers that create the 20-minute morning routine that relieves anxiety. As you can see, they all complement each other and help to restore balance of the body’s hormone harmony.

Motivational Energy

Now, if what I have spoken about makes sense to you, you probably have some motivational energy. This is that little light bulb moment you get when something makes sense and you get a burst of motivation and you’re like, Right! I’m going to do this.

But the problem is, the light bulb isn’t on for long and the odds are you will wake up tomorrow not feeling motivated and you will end up not trying the routine.

So what’s important is what you do right now! Allow routine to fuel your motivation, alleviate anxiety, and thereby revitalize your life.

Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms of stress or anxiety, always seek medical advice and talk to a doctor. These things are nothing to be ashamed of. If you found these strategies useful, please like and share, as it might help someone else going through the same thing. We can beat things like stress and anxiety together.

Reference

More by this author

Ben Jones

Fitness Coordinator

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

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Published on November 29, 2018

When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

“I don’t have time”

is the number one excuse people give when they’re asked how come they don’t exercise.

In the book The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz, it says that it’s management of our energy levels and not time that is the key to higher performance. If we kept our energy levels in check and made sure that every part of our lives contributed to positive energy levels, we would be able to get more done.

One of those aspects that give us energy is exercise.

Exercise is the fuel that gives us energy and an activity that keeps on giving even if we are sitting around day in the office and in meetings.

Reaping the benefits of a good workout is immediate. We have better focus and concentration; we are more alert and awake; we manage our mood better and have more creativity after a good workout than if we skipped the gym.

If you’d like to get started working out I’m going cover the pros and cons to exercising at different times of the day so that you can find a time that fits for your lifestyle and schedule.

So, when is the best time to work out? Let’s get started!

Working out in the Morning

Most people aspire to exercise first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. If this is you, read on to find out the additional benefits of getting your workout done in the morning.

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Benefits of Morning Workouts

1. The rest of the day is yours

Exercise and lifting weights is a staple and a habit in my life but it’s also the biggest to-do on my list. When I exercise first thing in the morning, then I’m free to do whatever I want the rest of the day. This is why I have a very strong preference of exercising in the morning as oppose to afternoons or evenings.

I schedule my day with my biggest to-dos first while I have the energy and focus at the beginning of the day. But the more I procrastinate about my workout and putting it on my list for later, the bigger that reminder to exercise sits on my shoulder.

My mind feels free when I finish my workout and this is the main reason I get my exercise in as soon as the day allows; and if I have to get up before the sun rises, then so be it.

2. Gyms are less crowded and there is more equipment available

Here’s the best part about working out early in the morning – there is not competition for equipment.

Most people typically struggle with getting up early in the morning except for the elderly. And in the morning, the gym floors are pretty sparse, this means there is no wait for equipment or competing for floor space.

I live in the crowded city of San Francisco where the gyms are packed once it gets to 9 AM, so the best times to get in if I want a squat rack is before 8 AM. Plus, the gym equipment is organized so I can find the free weights I want without much effort and there is usually a bench available.

3. You have more energy and more clarity to fire up the day

After you drag yourself to the gym at the crack of dawn, you will walk out of there with more energy and clarity then when you stepped in. Not only will you wide awake but you have extra energy on top of your cup of coffee.

The extra burst of creativity and focus keeps you productive so that you’re able to make more progress on your projects at work and finish earlier.

4. You become more consistent

The ones who see results are the ones who are consistent and morning people are definitely more consistent than people who postpone their workouts later in the day.[1]

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This is because as the day starts to unfold, unexpected meetings and events come up that can cut into or even eliminate gym time. If you want to workout more consistently, get your workout in first thing in the morning before life happens.

Downsides of Morning Workouts

1. You’re a zombie on the floor

Of course dragging yourself out of bed before the sun rises is why most people struggle with morning workouts. Some of us, like me, don’t want to talk to anyone before a certain time and get really short on a lack of sleep.

To combat morning zombie, make sure to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

2. Your preparation starts the night before

Your workout may happen in the morning but your preparation starts the night before. If you’re a last minute person and not a planner, you will struggle in the mornings to get out the door in time.

Packing everything you need for the gym in the morning is the key to getting to your workout in that day. Support successful mornings by modifying your night time routine in order to prepare for the next day.

How to Make It Easier to Wake Up

The first step is to make a commitment and stick with it. Don’t go back and forth the night before on whether you should go to the gym in the morning.

Make the decision to go in the morning and focus your energy on making it happen.

When you create that habit, you do it even if your workout is less than optimal and you’re not completely ‘all there’ or you’re a zombie in the morning. Just keep going because repetition makes it easier and the more often you go, the easier it gets.

Eventually your brain will catch up and start to automatically be awake at those times.

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A question you can ask yourself is what can you do to make it easier for you?

Can you set your workout clothes out the night before? Or have your breakfast prepared the night before? Or if you’re an alarm snoozer, put your alarm across the room and set back up alarms to make sure you get out of bed to shut them off.

Again, what can you do to make it 20 seconds easier to help you get up and out of the door in the morning?

Working out in the Afternoon/Evening

So what about working out in the evening? Is it a good time to help achieve your fitness goals?

Benefits of Evening Workouts

1. Your body performance is at its peak

When you’re training in the afternoon, your warm ups can be shorter because your body temperature increases throughout the day.

A higher body temperature leads to increased flexibility,[2] overall muscle strength,[3] and increased endurance.

Not only does the combination of low blood pressure and heart rate in the afternoon lead to faster reaction times and better performance, but also less likelihood injury.

At the same time the muscle growth hormone testosterone also peaks in the afternoon which is great for maximizing resistance training.

2. An accountability partner is easier to come by

If you’re someone who needs accountability partner to make it to the gym consistently, it could be easier to find a workout buddy in the afternoon than it is in the early morning. There is more flexibility in scheduling during lunch or after work as oppose to early mornings because it could cut into your sleep.

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3. You have more class options

If you’re a class person or like to attend group classes, I found that there are more class options in the afternoon/evening times versus mornings. So your favorite instructor may teach a couple more classes in the afternoon during the week giving you more flexibility in your schedule.

4. It’s a great way to destress after a long day

One of my favorite reasons to workout in the afternoon is the relief it provides after a long day at work. This is especially true for those who work long stressful hours. That hour you spend at the gym is dedicated you time to zone out is completely relaxing for the mind.[4]

Downsides of Evening Workouts

1. Consistency could take a back seat

Postponing your workouts till later in the day means you are more likely to skip your workouts because of an unexpected event. You’re also more likely to be low on energy after a long stressful day or you have to stay late at work and cancel your workout.

I find afternoon and evening workouts challenging because I’m ready to wind down after a long day and instead have to find the energy to wind up and be mentally prepared for my workout.

2. Crowded gyms and classes

For the most part, gyms are packed in the afternoon because of the after work crowd and in some cases gyms require you to RSVP to classes ahead of time due to limited spots. Majority of the people prefer working out after work and you’ll see an influx in crowds at the gym.

3. Additional preparation required

Working out after work means you need to be more mindful of your meals and make sure that you have prepared additional snacks to help you get through your workout.

It also means lugging around an extra bag with your gym clothes and other essentials.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what time of day you workout because your body will adjust to your schedule when you go the same times every time. What’s important is that you find a time that you can go to the gym consistently that works with your schedule.

It’s important to be consistent because consistency is what’s going to get you results. The road to results is simple but not easy. Mastering consistency year round is what is going to make you leaner and stronger one year from now.

Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

Reference

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