Waking with fear, struggling through the d... - Anxiety Support

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Waking with fear, struggling through the day with it, anyone?

kama24 profile image

I wake every day with the feeling of fear....it last until late afternoon then eases off to nothing. Nothing I have read or tried helps me, 7 years now. Does anyone else go through this and if so do you just accept it???

9 Replies

Don't lay in bed freaking out. I used to do that, but I made myself get up, still jittery for a while though. I told myself that it had gone on for so long and nothing bad had happened, so I could calm down.Sometimes get the odd funny morning, but much better now, I got cross with myself!

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Funkyfaerie

Yes, I get really irked at myself that I can't stop the fear. As my therapists says, I've come to expect it every morning. I just want to stop living in fear and anxiety.

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to kama24

It is true kama24 that we do develop a habitual behavior which is hard to breakunless we change our thought pattern.

What we think is what we get is very true.

You've been stuck in this cycle of fear for so long that your subconscious mind has

accepted it as normal.

Working on retraining the brain is possible but takes time. YouTube has many

videos that talk about this. Your therapist should be able to help address this issue

as well. We must do all that we can to change our pattern of thought from negativity

to positivity. I remember you suffering for a long time and I'm sorry. :) xx

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to Agora1

I totally believe what you & my therapist say. I have been like this for so long, I wake up expecting the same thing ea morning. Yes, I do need to change my thought pattern, I will take a look at Youtube. Thank you for replying,

I wish I had the answer for you or at least some help.. All I can say is you are not alone. I too the moment I wake up. Its there. It's as if every morning I have fear of the unknown. Fear of what the day is gonna be like. Fear if anxiety is going to rule my whole day. I too wonder why. I keep looking for the root cause. Do you ever wonder where the anxiety is if it's not there. It's like it supposed to be here.

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to marsbarr

I can totally relate to how you feel. I'm so fed up with it. My therapist says I need to find "hope" to make your mind think there is hope. I'm going to see if anything is on Youtube. Some days are far worse than others. We have to keep battling onward.

kama24 profile image
kama24 in reply to marsbarr

I totally can relate. I just want to enjoy each new day as I wake up. I'm disappointed that I cannot over ride this horrible feeling of fear. My therapist gave me some links to HOPE oh if only I could master them!

lifehack.org/articles/lifes...

samaritans.org/how-we-can-h...

grace-foundation.org.uk/5-w...

I wake up with fear, dread & anxiety almost every morning. It tapers during the day but I don't really get relief until night. My doctor told me that some people have high cortisol levels in the morning & that may be the cause. I usually stay up very late while I feel "normal" (whatever that means) just to enjoy the relief. Then sleep late in the morning to shorten the suffering of a long day. I'm out of sync with the rest of the world but it helps me cope.

Your response means a lot to me. It's 11;30 am and I have been battling FEAR since 7am. Like you by mid afternoon it starts to ease off. I have done a lot of googling on how to lower cortisol, sadly nothing helps. I live engulphed in fear. I mentioned high cortisol to my physciatrist and he had no suggestions at all. What help is that. I take Luvox, Remeron and ativan.....still no relief for the first part of the day. I often break down in tears as I feel so hopeless. At the suggestion of a dr. I am starting to take Ashwagandha from the Health Food store. (I did have to go off it for a while as I got covid and couldn't keep anything down). I take it in liquid form as I cannot swallow pills. Another suggestion from my physcotherapist is to ice the vagus nerve. Lets both keep trying to help ourselvesYou can enjoy the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation naturally by following these steps.

1. Cold Exposure

Acute cold exposure has been shown to activate the vagus nerve and activate cholinergic neurons through vagus nerve pathways (10).

Researchers have also found that exposing yourself to cold on a regular basis can lower your sympathetic “fight or flight” response and increase parasympathetic activity through the vagus nerve (11).

I often take cold showers and go outside in cold temperatures with minimal clothing.

Try finishing your next shower with at least 30 seconds of cold water and see how you feel. Then work your way up to longer periods of time.

You can also ease yourself into it by simply sticking your face in ice-cold water.

2. Deep and Slow Breathing

Deep and slow breathing is another way to stimulate your vagus nerve.

It’s been shown to reduce anxiety and increase the parasympathetic system by activating the vagus nerve (51-52).

Most people take about 10 to 14 breaths each minute. Taking about 6 breaths over the course of a minute is a great way to relieve stress. You should breathe in deeply from your diaphragm. When you do this, your stomach should expand outward. Your exhale should be long and slow. This is key to stimulating the vagus nerve and reaching a state of relaxation.

3. Singing, Humming, Chanting and Gargling

The vagus nerve is connected to your vocal cords and the muscles at the back of your throat.

Singing, humming, chanting and gargling can activate these muscles and stimulate your vagus nerve.

And this has been shown to increase heart-rate variability and vagal tone (12).

I often gargle water before swallowing it. This is discussed more in Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

4. Probiotics

It’s becoming increasingly clear to researchers that gut bacteria improve brain function by affecting the vagus nerve (27).

In one study, animals were given the probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, and researchers found positive changes to the GABA receptors in their brain, a reduction in stress hormones, and less depression and anxiety-like behaviour.

The researchers also concluded that these beneficial changes between the gut and the brain were facilitated by the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve was removed in other mice, the addition of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus to their digestive systems failed to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve mood (25).

Another study found that the probiotic Bifidobacterium Longum normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice by acting through the vagus nerve (26).

5. Meditation

Meditation is my favourite relaxation technique and it can stimulate the vagus nerve and increase vagal tone.

Research shows that meditation increases vagal tone and positive emotions, and promotes feelings of goodwill towards yourself (22, 23). Another study found that meditation reduces sympathetic “fight or flight” activity and increases vagal modulation (21).

6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that your body cannot produce itself. They are found primarily in fish and are necessary for the normal electrical functioning of your brain and nervous system.

They oftenappear in most of my posts because they are so critical for brain and mental health and affect so many aspects of wellness. They’ve been shown to help people overcome addiction, repair a “leaky brain”, and even reverse cognitive decline.

But researchers have also discovered that omega-3 fatty acids increase vagal tone and vagal activity (35-37, 40). Studies shown that they reduce heart rate and increase heart rate variability, which means they likely stimulate the vagus nerve (34, 38, 39).

And high fish consumption is also associated with “enhanced vagal activity and parasympathetic predominance” (35).

7. Exercise

I’ve already discussed how exercise increases your brain’s growth hormone, supports your brain’s mitochondria, and helps reverse cognitive decline.

But it’s also been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve, which may explain its beneficial brain and mental health effects (28).

Many brain health experts recommend exercise as their number one piece of advice for optimal brain health.

This is my exercise routine:

• Lift heavy weights 1-4 times per week

• High-intensity interval sprinting 1-2 times per week

• Walk as much as I can (ideally 30-60 minutes every day)

Walking, weightlifting and sprinting are the best forms of exercise, but you should choose a sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, so that you will stick with it consistently.

8. Massage

Research shows that massages can stimulate the vagus nerve, and increase vagal activity and vagal tone (31-32).

The vagus nerve can also be stimulated by massaging several specific areas of the body.Foot massages (reflexology) have been shown to increase vagal modulation and heart rate variability, and decrease the “fight or flight” sympathetic response (29). Massaging the carotid sinus, an area located near the right side of your throat, can also stimulate the vagus nerve to reduce seizures (30).

I personally get a massage from a registered massage therapist every couple of months.

9. Socializing and Laughing

I’ve already discussed how socializing and laughing can reduce your body’s main stress hormone.

And now I’ve now that they are likely doing this by stimulating the vagus nerve.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be controlled by your body and mind. You have the power to tell them what to do.

By stimulating the vagus nerve, you can send a message to your body that it’s time to relax and de-stress, which leads to long-term improvements in mood, wellbeing and resilience.

Increasing my vagal tone has allowed me to overcome anxiety and depression, and better manage them when they arise

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