It seems like a new study is released about stress and sleep almost every day—like how your bed affects your stress or how people are losing precious zzz’s over worrisome thoughts. Now, mental health experts are examining how waking up with toxic thoughts can mess with your stress levels too.
According to psychotherapist Katherine Schafler, most people accidentally have the exact same a.m. toxic thoughts—two, to be exact. In a story she penned for Thrive Global, Schafler explained most of us are waking up thinking either “I didn’t get enough sleep” or “I don’t have enough time.”
Sound familiar? Whether career burnout or an upcoming trip is the source of your waking stress, the thoughts might be doing more than just screwing up your mornings. Schafler says they could potentially ruin your whole day or even your entire perspective on life as well.
“We’re almost always jumping to two toxic thoughts, specifically ‘I didn’t get enough sleep’ or ‘I don’t have enough time.'” — Katherine Schafler, psychotherapist
This kind of mind-set turns your default mode into “scarcity mode,” Schalfer says, which means essentially training yourself to believe what you have is not enough. “We focus on what we wish was different, and in doing so, we subtly reject all that we already have,” she says.
There’s good news, though: You can rewire mental morning routine by focusing your first thoughts on gratitude, says Schalfer. Once you acknowledge that what you already have is enough for you, you’ll create a domino effect of positivity, resulting in what she calls “abundance,” or a proliferation in good karma all around.
So next time you wake up with toxic thoughts, try to practice a bit of gratitude instead. (Need ideas? Here’s how some wellness pros say thank you every single day.) You may emerge a happier person because of it.