Anticipation Anxiety – Stopping The Habit Of Thinking The Worst

June 22, 2017

“Stay Away From Negative People. They Have A Problem For Every Solution.”

When an individual experiences elevated levels of anxiety due to thoughts about a future situation or event, it can be termed as anticipation anxiety. It is usually regarded as a symptom of some other anxiety disorder and not as a separate mental condition. The anxiety can persist for months before the actual event and thus can be very debilitating and draining.

The worry associated with anticipation anxiety is usually about increased focus on what sufferers think may occur, typically with disastrous predictions about the future event. The intensity of such negative thoughts about the future situation helps determine whether the associated anxiety causes some discomfort or is incapacitating.

Symptoms Of Anticipation Anxietyanticipation anxiety

The symptoms of anticipation anxiety are often similar to that of generalized anxiety disorder. A few common symptoms and effects of anticipation anxiety are listed below:

Increased hesitation, restlessness, negative focus, uneasiness, and avoidance.

Regular tensing of the body while waiting for the anxiety causing event. A tensed upper body can trigger issues like pain in chest, hyperventilation, and muscle spasms, etc. A tense body can also be very disabling.

Changes in behavior so as to prevent the reoccurrence of adverse symptoms

Preoccupation with thoughts about the fearful event can cause relationship problems. It may also pose problems in attention and concentration, which may adversely affect work, enjoyment of desired activities, and other aspects of daily life
Anticipation anxiety may occur as part of other disorders like social phobia, panic attacks, and public speaking phobia, etc.

Stopping The Habit Of Thinking The Worst

Some of the ways to manage anticipation anxiety are discussed below:

  • Remember the fact that excessively worrying about uncontrollable things in the future does not result in actual resolution of any unforeseen issues
  • Look at the evidence currently available within you
  • Carefully determine the best outcome, the worst outcome, and the most likely outcome
  • Find out ways to help cope with bad outcomes as well as work towards eliminating the sources that may trigger a bad outcome.

Repeat to yourself that you are the master of your thoughts and that the negative thoughts and worrying have no control over you.

In case you wish to anticipate outcomes of future events or situations, then foresee them as being pleasant and fruitful.
Do not indulge in over analysis of events. Instead you can retrain the brain to not worry about anticipated outcomes. Instead of obsessive, self-destructive, and negative thoughts, train the mind to imagine better outcomes and the sensations of satisfaction that the pleasant results offer.

In the short term, distract the mind and interrupt the emotion to decrease the anxiety levels. This can be done by engaging in a routine task like doing a crossword, or looking at a soothing painting, or listening to some invigorating music, etc. This will help change the focus of attention from negative thoughts and anticipation anxiety back to the present.

Exercising helps burn the additional levels of adrenaline that are released during times of increased anxiety. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be alleviated with breathing exercises, yoga, relaxation techniques, CBT, and meditation.

Begin The #1 CBT Based Program For Anxiety Today And End The Cycle Of Worry And Fear.

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13 comments on “Anticipation Anxiety – Stopping The Habit Of Thinking The Worst

  1. Adrian Jun 23, 2017

    It’s very difficult to be rational when you’re panicking about something which you perceive as being serious. Easier said than done is right in this case. In those moments, I can hardly take control of my emotions and I just feel powerless. This has gradually gotten worse over time and I don’t know how to make things better. I’m already in my 50s and things are not looking promising. After “an episode” passes I can clearly see my mistakes but that doesn’t mean next time I’ll act or react differently. Any tips?

    • Adrian more important to know what not to do than what to do during a panic attack and this video will help you gain a better understanding:

    • Marnie Aug 13, 2019

      Hi Adrian, I can totally relate to what you are saying. I will be 52 this coming month. I have health anxiety and whatever else therapists want to call me. I’m tired of it. I do well for periods of time and then something comes back to get things going again. I have a library of journals that I cry when I read. This certainly isn’t easy.

  2. Ramona Jun 24, 2017

    Negative thoughts come knocking at everyone’s door but I think there is a way to decrease their power. As soon as I get some negative thoughts I immediately switch to thinking a positive one. Let me give an example:

    Let’s say I am worried about my child’s first day at school and I keep imagining the worse. As soon as I notice what I’m thinking, I start telling myself: He’ll be fine. He’s a great kid. He will have a wonderful day. He’s going to be so happy when he comes home.

    And I say it again and again until I just feel like smiling and I feel relaxed.

    • Great approach Ramona thanks for sharing and also looking forward to guiding you through the program you’ve just started 🙂

  3. Claire Jun 24, 2017

    My grandmother had this gift of seeing the best in people and in negative events. Even when things were dire, she could still find something that was great. She could find greatness in anything at all. She told me she used to be a huge worrier in her youth but she realized how much energy and time she wasted doing so. She also noticed that hardly anything of what she was imagining ever came true so why waste the time on it? Whenever something bad happened she used to ask herself: what good thing is buried underneath this?

    • The toughest thing for most people is to go from unconscious living to conscious living. To pay attention to what’s irrational and pessimistic because it’ much easier to jump to conclusions and see the worst in everything, than to gather the facts.

  4. I only wish I could stop worrying about what might happen. And I always picture the worst happening which leads to a lot of sleepless nights :(. I know that things are almost never as dire as I make them to be but I still can’t control my negative thoughts. I wish I had the willpower to fight these thoughts but I don’t really know how to do it. Been battling this for many years and I don’t see any progress. It’s discouraging…

    • Many times it’s that one person that holds you accountable for the change each week that can make all the difference Matt.

  5. Chris Jun 26, 2017

    I try to stay away from people who are negative because they can easily bring me down within a few minutes. I’m not mentally ready to “fight” their negativity and I know I will lose and become upset or negative or both so I just try to avoid the naysayers completely. This means that I have to avoid talking to some family members at times which is not easy or pleasant but I have to do it. Otherwise I’ll just end up fighting with them which is even worse.

    • The day will come where you won’t allow other people’s opinions and beliefs to overtake your own thought processes Chris.