mental health · Uncategorized

Anticipatory Anxiety

Am I the only one who has something to do at the end of the day, so as a result I spend the day thinking about it and waiting so I can finally relax? No? That’s because it’s more common than you think.

For as long as I recall, I have stressed about the events I have to do during the day and I definitely thought I was the only one. But, it turns out theres a term for it; anticipatory anxiety. During this post, I want to explore the definition of it and ways to reduce it’s burden.

Anticipatory Anxiety

Anticipatory anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future. Rather than being a specific disorder in its own right, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety related conditions, such as generalised anxiety.

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/anxiety-type/anticipatory-anxiety/#:~:text=Anticipatory%20anxiety%20is%20where%20a,conditions%2C%20such%20as%20generalised%20anxiety.

This quote from Anxiety UK sums it up quite well, basically, it’s increased levels of anxiety caused by a future event. Further on, it proceeds to explain that it can be draining for up to months leading up to this event, often causing people worry and anticipate the worst.

For me, I’ve found I experience it mostly on a daily basis and I feel as if I cannot relax until the event has occured, for example, this could be tutoring my student or even my online zoom class. Evidently, its quite a common occurance and can cause people to feel drained during the day. Of course, there’s never a complete treatment, though symptoms can be alleviated. So, let’s get into it.

Reducing Symptoms

I’d just like to clarify, I still experience this quite often, therefore; I’m not enitrely sure if these will work for me but everyone is different. Healing is a journey and now that I have a name for it, I can work towards reducing it. These techniques listed will be sourced from websites dedicated to mental health.

  • Deep breathing. This technique is mean’t to aid in regulating heart beat and assist when hyperventilating. Personally, I feel this would be best during an anxiety attack or panic attack. Although it could help with reducing the increase in heart rate during negative thoughts.
  • Journal writing. Stoic is a good app for this, it is mostly free (10/10 for not putting a high price on mental health). It asks you to fill it out three times a day, however it’s okay if you don’t. Firstly, it will ask how well you slept and how motivated you feel, then it will tell you to identify what you want to focus on today. It proceeds to ask you the single most important thing you need to do and gets you to write what you’re grateful for. There are also breathing and mediation techniques on it. I definitely recommend it!
  • Speak out loud to yourself and shut down the negative thoughts. I’ve done this in the past and it does work quite well. The only issue is it’s a mental battle and sometimes it’s a hard barrier to cross.
  • Reframe your thinking. Again, this is a mental battle. I think it is do-able, however, I feel some people might not be at that stage in their journey to reframe their thinking.
  • Place your attention on the anxiety but don’t judge it. This can aid in the prevention of over-analysing a situation. If no over-analysing occurs, your brain can’t think constantly and panic.

These are just a few techniques that can help, again, it depends on the person. Mental health is journey and it’s important to find what works best for you.

Thanks for reading! Also be sure to check out my science blog if you have time! That Hipster Scientist

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References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/debunking-myths-the-mind/201101/anticipatory-anxiety-the-suffering-and-solutions

https://www.verywellmind.com/anticipatory-anxiety-and-panic-disorder-2584252

2 thoughts on “Anticipatory Anxiety

  1. Great post – I am no stranger to this type of anxiety. Often happens when thinking about work. Journalling is massive for me – helps me to keep perspective. Meditation is also a life saver. A mindful acronyms that helps me is STOP Stop. Take a breath. Observe. Proceed. Thank you for your wise counsel and being part of the good fight. Wishing you well, AP2 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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