What Is Anticipatory Anxiety And How To Rise Above It

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You can experience anticipatory anxiety even in the most mundane events of your day.

The thought of the unknown can bring a sense of dread to the most of us. Our initial reaction upon entering unfamiliar territory is to brace ourselves from “danger” and to avoid harm. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s to prepare for the worst. Sometimes, as we prepare ourselves for those events that are important to us, we want things to go as perfectly as possible to the point that we anticipate even the worst case scenarios. These worries are normal, but they can become signs of anticipatory anxiety if they start to impact your day-to-day life.

Anticipatory anxiety is the fear or worry that bad things could happen and focusing on things you can’t predict or control. Dwelling so much in the worry of unwanted things that could happen might lead to increased feeling of frustration and hopelessness.

Photo from Psychiatry Advisor.

Anticipatory anxiety isn’t yet considered a mental health disorder, but it can appear as a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder. Anticipatory anxiety happens to people who have social anxiety, panic disorders, specific phobias, and PTSD.

These are some signs of someone feeling anticipatory anxiety that you might be experiencing as well: difficulty concentrating; trouble managing emotions and mood; emotional numbness; loss of interest in your usual hobbies; jumpiness or restlessness; muscle tension and pain; nausea and appetite loss; and sleep problems. So, this sense of dread about unpredictable and uncontrollable things can actually affect someone’s quality of living. Here are some ways to combat anticipatory anxiety.

Take care of yourself

Physical wellness can have an impact on emotional wellness. As a result, things like sleep, nutrition, and exercise can play an important part in the management of anxiety symptoms, including anticipatory anxiety.

Photo from Better Me.

Give yourself a pep talk

Tell yourself if your thoughts are “realistic”. It’s natural to worry about bad things happening. So, give yourself the same compassion you give to people.

Remind yourself thinking to not think about about negative things too much, because these thoughts can make you miss out on the good things this life has to offer.

Talk about it with someone

Telling your loved ones about your condition can help. Since you spend a lot of your time with them, your environment could improve if they know what makes worry and could also give you reassurance and comfort.

Seek help

Coping mechanisms can only be helpful up to a certain point. If your condition is not improving, it’s time to consider seeking professional help.

Photo from Intermountain Healthcare.

Therapy is one of the most recommended solution from psychologist when it comes to matters that concern our mental health. A kind and compassionate therapist can help you examine the causes of your stress and can help you address the possible causes of anticipatory anxiety.

Related:

Post-Quarantine Social Anxiety: It’s Normal and Here’s How To Cope

How To Deal With Anxiety In The Time of COVID-19

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What Is It and How Do We Deal With It?

This Is Why Doing Nothing Is Actually Good For You


If you need to seek professional help, call National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline (NCMH-USAP) 0917-899-USAP.