Waking up with anxiety? Here’s what to do.

By Lorraine Faehndrich

In the past week I have had several clients talk with me about waking up with anxiety, so I wanted to share some tips on how to work with this when it comes up.

Morning anxiety is something many of us have experienced. Sometimes, even when things are going well we can wake up with that familiar pit in our stomach and the desire to stay curled up under the covers, hiding from the world.

And when you’re in pain, working through a difficult situation in your life, or going through a transition, waking up with anxiety can get really intense.

It can feel paralyzing.

One thing to keep in mind is that underlying anxiety, is usually emotions that are coming up to help you navigate through whatever is going on for you.

And, if you’ve been reading my newsletter for a while, you know that your emotions are highly beneficial. They not only bring you valuable guidance, they do important things like help you set boundaries, let go of what is no longer serving you, and hear your intuition.

When Emotions are Flowing they don’t Wake You Up with Anxiety

If you are waking up with anxiety, what you’re experiencing is the result of suppressed emotion.

Suppressed emotion feels bad and overwhelming. It can feel like a pit in your stomach, or an elephant sitting on your chest. It can constrict your breathing, trigger your fight or flight response, create tension, and never seem to go away.

What you want to keep in mind is that below that layer of freak out, below that big overwhelming sensation and scary thinking

Is just emotion that needs to flow.

Once you feel the emotion, the anxiety will go away, and you’ll have some valuable guidance from your soul.

The key to working with anxiety is to get to the very manageable, and highly beneficial, pure emotions, that are underlying the big overwhelming sensations of the suppressed emotion.

You want to get past the ILLUSION that something dangerous is going on….and connect to the core of love and safety that you ARE…always.

Here’s what you can do…..

Get into your body

We’ve almost all experienced trauma or really big emotions as children that weren’t safe for us to feel. As a result, we develop unconscious protective mechanisms that dissociate us from our body and suppress emotional energy and sensation. These survival patterns actually allow us to survive situations that were overwhelming to us, and that as children we were powerless to change.

As adults, however, it is perfectly safe (and incredibly beneficial) for us to feel our emotions, receive their guidance, and use that guidance to improve our lives.

The first step to doing that is to consciously choose to connect to your body.

There are many ways to do this. I take some nice slow breaths into my low belly, ground myself by noticing the bed supporting me, and bring my attention to sensations in my body.

Get Curious

Now that you’re aware of your body, what sensations do you notice?  Describe these sensations with adjectives like contracted, tingly, achy, open, etc.  Pretend you’re a scientist gathering data for an experiment. Nothing you notice is good or bad. It’s all just sensation, and sensation is just energy.

Notice Your Mind

What’s your mind up to? What scary stories is it spinning? Name the stories and set them aside. It can help to write your thoughts down. Imagine dumping them out of your mind and onto the paper.

You can work more with your thoughts later. Right now, your goal is to stay present with your body and emotions, and to do that it helps to set the thoughts aside.


You are going to enter into a partnership with your body and emotions rather than trying to escape, change, or be afraid of them.

You do this by asking.

My favorite questions to ask are:

  • How are you here to help me?
  • Do you have a message for me?

After you ask, breathe, be patient, and see if anything pops into your mind.

Don’t TRY to get an answer.

Just listen.

The important thing isn’t even to get answers right away. It’s simply to get out of the automatic habitual protective patterns that create anxiety, and connect with yourself.

If you don’t hear guidance right away, over time you will.

You have all of the wisdom and guidance you need inside of you.

We ALL do.

It comes through your body.

You just have to practice asking…and listening.

Anxiety can be your friend.

Anxiety is a signal that there is some guidance your soul wants you to hear.

When you use waking up with anxiety as a reminder to connect to yourself and your emotions, it will keep you on course to your best most radiant life.

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