What is Anticipatory Anxiety and How Can You Overcome It?

What is Anticipatory Anxiety and How Can You Overcome It?

Do you often feel anxious in social situations even though you don’t know what will happen? Do you feel like you’re always worrying about things that may or may not happen? If so, then you are likely struggling with anticipatory anxiety. This type of anxiety can be extremely debilitating and can keep you from living a normal life. In this blog post, we will discuss what anticipatory anxiety is, the symptoms, and how you can overcome it!

What Is Anticipatory Anxiety?

What Is Anticipatory Anxiety?Anticipatory anxiety is defined as anxiety that occurs in anticipation of an upcoming event or situation. It is a form of anticipatory stress and can be debilitating for some people. Usually, this condition is characterized by excessive worry and tension, which leads to physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, and difficulty breathing.

According to studies, anticipatory anxiety is a common condition, affecting up to 20% of the population. It often begins in childhood or adolescence and can persist into adulthood. While it is normal to feel some anxiety in anticipation of an event, such as a job interview or a first date, anticipatory anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes with your daily life.

It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to deal with anticipatory anxiety is to face your fears. This might mean taking on a challenging project at work or going on a first date even though you’re feeling butterflies in your stomach.

It’s important to remember that everyone feels anxious at times and that you can handle whatever comes your way. Taking on challenges, big or small, can help you build confidence and learn to cope with anxiety in a healthy way. If you’re struggling with anticipatory anxiety, talk to your doctor or mental health professional.

How To Recognize It?

It is important to recognize the symptoms of anticipatory anxiety so that you can begin to address it. These may include:

  • Excessive worry about an upcoming event or situation
  • Feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension

These are only a few of the potential symptoms you may experience. For example, if you have social anxiety, you may also worry about things like what you will wear or say. If you have performance anxiety, you may obsess over details and practice excessively. In fact, you may even begin to avoid the situation altogether.

Moreover, anticipatory anxiety can be physical, mental, or both. You may experience a racing heart, sweating, and trembling. Or you may just feel nauseous and have a hard time concentrating. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to reach out for help. Because this is not an anxiety attack, you cannot just “wait it out.” You need to actively work to reduce your anxiety.

What Causes Anticipation Anxiety?

What Causes Anticipation Anxiety?There are a number of things that can cause anticipatory anxiety. Some of the common are listed below:

  • Fear of the unknown: If you don’t know what’s going to happen, it can be easy to start feeling anxious.
  • Past experiences: If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, it can be hard not to feel anxious about something similar happening again.
  • Perfectionism: If you’re a perfectionist, you might start feeling anxious about not being able to do something perfectly.
  • Other people’s expectations: If you feel like you have to meet other people’s expectations, it can be easy to start feeling anxious.

So, these are some common causes. Along with this, there are some risk factors that might make you more likely to experience anticipatory anxiety. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Genetics: If someone in your family has an anxiety disorder, you might be more likely to experience it yourself.
  • Personality: If you’re a naturally anxious person, you might be more likely to experience anticipatory anxiety.
  • Stressful life events: If you’ve experienced a lot of stressful life events, you might be more likely to experience anticipatory anxiety.

All in all, these are a few things that can cause anticipatory anxiety. If you’re feeling anxious about something, it’s important to talk to a doctor or therapist to see if there’s anything you can do to help ease your anxiety.

How Does It Impact Life?

Now, this is where anticipatory anxiety can start to really impact your life in a negative way. When you’re constantly worrying about things that may or may not happen, it’s tough to focus on the present moment. And this further leads to negative consequences in life, these include:

  • Difficulty concentrating: It is very hard to focus when your mind is running through a list of all the things that could go wrong.
  • Disrupted sleep: It’s tough to fall asleep and stay asleep when you’re thinking about everything you have to do the next day.
  • Poor decision-making: When you’re so focused on the potential outcomes of a situation, it’s tough to make a decision.
  • Exhaustion: This type of anxiety can be extremely draining, both mentally and physically.
  • Lower productivity levels: It might be hard to get anything done when you’re so focused on what could go wrong.
  • Increased stress levels: When you are constantly worrying about the future, it can lead to increased stress levels.
  • Relationship problems: If you’re always worried about the future, it can be tough to maintain healthy relationships.

These are just some of the ways that anticipatory anxiety can impact your life. It’s important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety in different ways and no two people are alike. If you’re struggling with anticipatory anxiety, know that you’re not alone and there are ways to overcome it.

How Is It Diagnosed?

How Is It Diagnosed?A diagnosis is always made by a professional because it is difficult to self-diagnose. The professional will ask you questions about your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them. They will also want to rule out any other possible causes of your anxiety.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, so it is important to get the correct diagnosis. Let’s outline some common methods of diagnosis for anticipatory anxiety:

  • Medical History: The professional will want to know about your medical history and any other mental health conditions you have. They will also ask about your family’s medical history.
  • Physical Exam: A physical exam can rule out any other possible causes of your anxiety symptoms. The professional will check your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
  • Psychological Evaluation: This evaluation will likely include a questionnaire about your symptoms and how they affect your life. The professional will also ask you questions about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

After the diagnosis is made, the professional can help you develop a treatment plan. If you are suffering from anticipatory anxiety, there are several things you can do to find relief.

How Anticipatory Anxiety Treated?

It is important to seek professional help if anticipatory anxiety is impacting your life in a negative way. A therapist can help you understand and manage your anxiety. Some common treatment options include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. It aims to help you change the way you think and behave in order to improve your symptoms. For example, when someone with anticipatory anxiety starts to feel anxious about an upcoming event, CBT would help them challenge their negative thoughts and beliefs about the event. This could help reduce their anxiety and improve their ability to cope with the situation.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is another effective treatment for anxiety disorders. It involves gradually exposing yourself to the thing that you’re afraid of. This can help you to become less afraid of it over time. More often, in exposure therapy, you’ll work with a therapist to help you through the process. They aim at reducing your anxiety by helping you face your fears head-on.


This is one way to address anticipatory anxiety, but it is not the only way, nor is it necessarily the best way. You and your doctor can work together to find the medication or combination of medications that will be most effective for you. Commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Benzodiazepines

Support groups

This is usually considered a normal reaction that happens when we are unsure of what to expect. Joining a support group can be very beneficial. It allows you to share your experiences with others who are going through a similar situation. This can help you feel more comfortable and less anxious about what is to come.

Additionally, it can provide you with valuable information and coping strategies from people who have already been through it. There are various types of support groups so choose what feels right for you. You can even look online for forums or chat rooms that might be helpful. Just remember, you are not alone in this. There are others who understand and can offer support.


Self-care for anticipatory anxietyAlong with professional options, there are things you can do on your own to ease anticipatory anxiety. When you have some control over the situation that’s causing you to worry, take steps to manage it as best as possible. Let’s discuss some tips:

  • Avoid excessive caffeine: Too much caffeine can make anxiety worse. If you’re a coffee drinker, try to stick to one cup per day or switch to decaf.
  • Get regular exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key here—too much or too little can actually make anxiety worse.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: There are many different relaxation techniques you can try, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation. Experiment to see what works best for you.
  • Create a routine: This can be helpful in managing any anxiety, especially anticipatory anxiety. Having a set routine can help you feel more in control and less anxious about what’s to come.
  • Talk to your family: It is very important to communicate with your family about your anxiety. Discussing it openly can help them understand and be more supportive.

These are a few common self-care techniques that can help ease anticipatory anxiety. If you’re struggling to manage your anxiety on your own, please reach out to a mental health professional for additional support.

Is Anticipatory Anxiety Curable?

This might seem like a silly question, but it’s one that people asked a lot. And the answer is yes!

There are many ways that you can overcome anticipatory anxiety. The most important thing is to find the method that works best for you. Some people find relief through medication, while others find cognitive behavioral therapy to be helpful.

It is believed that anticipatory anxiety is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, environment, and psychology. If you have a family history of anxiety or depression, you may be more likely to experience anticipatory anxiety. This impacts your recovery process, as you will need to be especially proactive in your treatment.

Additionally, if you live in a high-stress environment or have experienced traumas in the past, you may also be more susceptible to this type of anxiety. In these cases, therapy can be a valuable tool in helping you to overcome your fears and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

The good news is that anticipatory anxiety is highly treatable. With the right tools and support, you can overcome this condition and reclaim your life. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re struggling with anticipatory anxiety – it’s definitely worth it!


In conclusion, anticipatory anxiety is a treatable condition that can be overcome with the right treatment plan. It is important for you to be proactive in your recovery process, and to seek help from a professional if you are struggling. With the right support, you can overcome anticipatory anxiety and live a happy, healthy life.

For more tips and guidance, you can reach out to Therapy Mantra. The team of professional counselors is more than happy to help you in your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.