You feel overwhelming dread and fear about an upcoming presentation at work or school. Your anxiety is off the charts when you think about how bad traffic will be on your drive home. You find yourself fearful of encountering anything that could spark your anxiety. If this sounds like you, you may experience anticipatory anxiety.
Common in those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, anticipatory anxiety shows up and creates fear about situations that haven’t happened yet. Essentially, anticipatory anxiety can be summed up as “anxiety about anxiety.” And if you experience it, you already know that it’s as dreadful as it sounds.
It’s normal and common for us to dread mundane or stressful tasks like paying bills, finishing our most hated chores, or having difficult conversations. Feeling dread about the things we don’t enjoy or that stress us out is normal.
But when that dread turns into anticipatory anxiety, we find ourselves slipping into an unhelpful spiral of anxiety. So what’s the difference between the two? Dread is a sense of dislike and taking steps of avoidance or procrastination. But anticipatory anxiety comes with a sense of doom, feelings of panic, racing thoughts, heart palpitations, and so much more.
So you’re dealing with anticipatory anxiety… But now you’re wondering how do I cope with anticipatory anxiety?
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