Anticipatory anxiety typically occurs when you confront a situation, person, or event that has scared you in the past. Our brain stores these memories and our fight or flight response causes us to respond with a fear response to these situations. In this article, we will discuss what anticipatory anxiety is and how you can manage it.
What anticipatory anxiety looks like in everyday life
Months ago you booked your dream vacation, the one you always wanted to take, and you leave tomorrow. All day you have had tightness in your chest, sweaty palms, and an upset stomach but you just can’t explain why. You have never been afraid of flying, sure the turbulence during the last flight that you took was scary but you did not think it would affect you later. Well, the answer could be hidden in the experience you had during your last flight. Physical symptoms such as chest tightness, sweaty palms, and an upset stomach are typical ways that your body prepares you for an event that causes fear. Our brains store past experiences and program us to anticipate the worst. It is the body’s natural defense system revving up to ensure that we will get out of a situation should it be dangerous.
The issue occurs when we experience such anticipatory anxiety when we are not facing imminent danger. However, there is good news! There are techniques that you can employ to reduce the symptoms of anticipatory anxiety.
How to reduce anticipatory anxiety
If your anxiety appears to be interfering with your day to day activities, it might be time for professional help. Seek the help of a mental health professional such as a Licensed Professional Counselor to discuss your specific case. At Seeds of Change Counseling we offer in-person Austin therapy to the community or we offer online counseling for all residents of Texas. Our counselors are ready to support you as you go through this time, there is no need to struggle alone! Call us now at 512-676-5813 for a free counseling phone consultation for Austin therapy to see if we would be a good fit.