Anxiety is a condition when people are constantly worried about everyday things. Some of the symptoms of anxiety are nervousness, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling and having a sense of panic. Anticipatory anxiety refers to the worry of the coming future and things that are planned in the near future. Sometimes people start having anxiety thinking that they will be unsuccessful at something that they have set to do. "Do you get anxious imagining when you might get your next panic attack? Or spend time imagining all the things that could possibly go wrong on that upcoming trip you just planned? If so, you are dealing with anticipatory anxiety," wrote Therapist Carrie Howard as she explained anticipatory anxiety.
Carrie Howard further noted down a few signs of anticipatory anxiety:
Excessive worrying: playing out worst-case scenarios in the head and constantly thinking of the future and how things may not work in our favour can give us a panic attack.
Overpreparing: People with anticipatory anxiety are also the ones who dread failing at something. Hence, they overprepare and spend extra time working on making things work out, preparing, researching and putting in extra effort.
Physical symptoms: Anxiety and panic attack can show up as physical symptoms in the body as well. As we start to progress to the time which we were fearing, we start to notice physical symptoms of panic – elevated heart rate, trembling, sweating, quickened breathing. Sometimes too much overthinking and panic can lead to digestive problems as well.
Difficulty with uncertainty: People with anticipatory anxiety cannot deal with the thought of uncertainty. Hence, they over plan, overprepare and overthink and try to figure out things to make it work.
Feeling anxious: Sometimes anticipatory anxiety can make us feel more anxious and sick than the anxiety during the feared event.
Carrie Howard further suggested that in order to combat anticipatory anxiety, we should challenge the negative thoughts consciously and try out relaxation techniques to keep us calm. "It’s impossible to worry about the future when you’re grounded mindfully in the present moment! Try mindfulness techniques or engage in activities that require your full attention," added the Therapist.