If you’ve ever been jolted awake during a particularly awful nightmare, you know how jarring it can be. It would be one thing if the experience ended there, but for a lot of people—myself included—the feelings of fear, anxiety and/or depression brought on by a bad dream can be hard to shake.
It’s a terrible way to begin the day, especially if you’re someone who regularly deals with anxiety.
Fortunately, there are ways to recover from a nightmare, so you can start your day off fresh. Lifehacker spoke with two psychiatrists to find out how.
Why we can feel depressed or anxious after a nightmare
Before we look into how to recover and start your day after a bad dream, let’s look at why nightmares have the power to do this to us in the first place. According to Dion Metzger, M.D., a psychiatrist based in Atlanta, a disturbing dream presents just like reality. “Similarly to how we would feel after a scary real-life experience, we can have the same reaction of anxiety, sadness or even anger following a bad dream,” she tells Lifehacker.