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What To Do And Say In The Morning To Wake Up Less Anxious Or Angry
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/fizkes
  • While most mornings are uneventful, there are some mornings that are marked with anxiety just upon waking up. It feels like an unexplained fear or apprehension for what is about to come. It is not uncommon to wake up like this during a pandemic.

    Working from home has allowed some extra time to linger a little longer in bed, instead of rushing to beat the early morning rush. It is in these ruminations that stress is magnified.

    There are mornings I wake up like this. Instead of jumping out of bed, I go into a mindless worry of all sorts of things: the health of my elderly parents, the report I have yet to write, the cabinets that are waiting to be de-cluttered, the mental health of my kids whose lives have been taken over by the internet, and so many other habitual thoughts that are upsetting.

    Why are we languishing?

    In trying to make sense of the pandemic, the mind has given in to an acute state of anguish. Ruminating about our job security, work satisfaction, the family’s physical health has caused people to feel dull and lethargic.

    This state of aimless joy and emptiness is called languishing. It feels like there is no point in doing things because the results will not make any marked difference anyway.

    People who languish are in danger of moving towards depression. While people entertain themselves with social media, seeing friends having a flourishing life only makes things worse.

    If there is one thing that mindfulness has taught me, it is acknowledging your thoughts with kindness. Putting too much effort in driving negative thoughts away or emptying the mind from worry is not the goal of the practice.

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    Being gentle with your thoughts means parking them for a while, as you focus on the blue sky behind the dark clouds.

    Morning affirmations to wash away negative thoughts

    What can you do if you feel you are languishing? One technique that works for many is breathwork. This practice involves breathing in a conscious and systematic way. The basic steps include breathing in deeply and exhaling gently. (Scroll below for a good breathing technique.)

    Adding affirmative thoughts is a way to change the mindset from playing victim to someone fully in charge of the day.

    You may try these five affirmations developed by Dr. Mikao Usui developed based on the five Reiki principles (a type of energy healing). The idea is to say the following quietly in the mind in between deep and gentle breaths.

    • Just for today, I will not be angry.
    • Just for today, I will not worry.
    • Just for today, I will be grateful.
    • Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
    • Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.

    Accept that not all mornings will be the same. Sometimes, anxiety will get the best of us. This is not a reason to feel discouraged. Simply showing up in your mats for a few minutes of meditation will eventually pay off.

    Whenever we de-clutter the mind — less worry, less fear, less doubt — we create more space for more joy, more peace, and more love.

    Be kind to yourself, small victories are still victories.

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    Editor's note: In yoga, there is a breathing technique called alternate nostril breathing. Below is just a 10-minute practice that helps with stress and headaches!

    Dr. Gail Reyes Galang is chair of the Family Studies program of Miriam College where she also teaches under the Department of Psychology. She is currently the associate director of the Center for Peace Education. Follow her on Instagram @gailfrancesgalang

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