Anticipatory Anxiety Treatment

Anticipatory Anxiety Treatment

Anticipatory anxiety is a form of generalized anxiety which many people experience when contemplating an upcoming event such, as addressing a large crowd, taking an important exam, or going on a first date. As a person frets about what may or may not happen, her blood pressure increases as does her heart rate and pulse; she may experience tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, upset stomach and severe headaches, all over the possible outcomes of an event which has yet to occur.

Imagination
It is the possibility of a negative outcome or personal catastrophe which causes anxiety. Anticipatory anxiety generally occurs as we imagine any number of unpleasant scenarios or consider all of the possible things that could go wrong.

To begin treating anticipatory anxiety, we must be able to admit that we cannot predict the future. Any scenario we are able to imagine is nothing more than speculation and fabrication.

Picturing positive outcomes can significantly reduce apprehension, which can lead to increased levels of confidence and an overall elevation in mood.

Dialogue
People who suffer from anticipatory anxiety tend to "what if" an upcoming event into the ground, asking "What if I get lost?" "What if I forget what I am supposed to say/do?" "What if I get yelled at or suspended or fired?"

When you find yourself wondering, "What if..." Stop! Take a deep breath; breathe in through the nose, hold the air in your lungs for a count of four, then slowly let the air out through the mouth. While you are doing this, consider the possibility that you are being unrealistic and irrational. Focus on positive or neutral outcomes. This is a simple relaxation technique. Similar techniques, such as guided imagery, meditation or self-hypnosis can help to soothe your nerves and keep anxiety at bay.

If you are unable to relax, try distracting yourself with a puzzle, music, or a good movie. Alternatively, consider using your excess energy for exercise. Not only will it help to reduce the levels of adrenaline you have built up worrying, it will release natural chemicals called endorphins which alleviate stress and induce feelings of euphoria.

Mental Health
Seek professional help, if necessary, to get your anticipatory anxiety under control. A mental health care provider can offer you a wide variety of treatment options. A course of cognitive therapy can help you to identify damaging internal dialogue and behavior modification can help you stop destructive patterns and habits.

Professionals can also prescribe prescription medications, such as Benzodiazapines, which can produce an immediate calming effect and reduce the physical symptoms of ongoing anxiety.