The London Anxiety Clinic

Harley Street and Wimpole Street

0203 752 4258

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Anticipatory anxiety? Therapy for anxiety and panic attacks London

Anticipatory anxiety is the fear or nervousness about events that will happen in the future. It's a common experience for many people and can range from mild worry about an upcoming event, like a job interview or a medical appointment, to severe dread about something that might occur, even if it is not likely. This type of anxiety can be particularly disruptive as it not only affects emotional and mental health, but can also lead to physical symptoms and impact daily functioning.

It is important to recognise that while anticipatory anxiety is a normal human experience, it shouldn't consistently interfere with your ability to enjoy life or accomplish your daily activities. If anticipatory anxiety is severe or leads to avoidance behaviors that impact your life quality you can contact the London anxiety clinic for a complimentary consultation.

Below I have provided some examples to show the possible causes and ideas on managing anticipatory anxiety.

 Causes of Anticipatory Anxiety

  1. Negative Thinking Patterns: Often, anticipatory anxiety stems from a tendency to imagine the worst-case scenario. This catastrophic thinking leads to increased anxiety about future events.

  2. Previous Negative Experiences: If past events have gone poorly or resulted in trauma, you might naturally worry about future similar situations. This can condition a response of anxiety to certain triggers.

  3. Lack of Control: Feeling like you have little or no control over what might happen can exacerbate feelings of anxiety.

  4. General Anxiety Tendencies: Some people have more anxious personalities or may have disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), where excessive worry about various things, including future events, is a common symptom.

Managing Anticipatory Anxiety

  1. Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices help bring your attention to the present, reducing the focus on future worries. Mindfulness can help you acknowledge anxious thoughts without over-identifying with them.

  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of therapy is effective in treating various types of anxiety, including anticipatory anxiety. CBT focuses on identifying, challenging, and changing unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors.

  3. Preparation and Planning: Sometimes, practical preparation for the anticipated event can help reduce anxiety. Knowing you are as ready as you can be may provide a sense of control and reassurance.

  4. Exposure Therapy: Gradually and systematically exposing yourself to the source of your anxiety in a controlled way can help decrease the anxiety over time. This is often used in phobias but can be adapted for anticipatory anxiety.

  5. Physical Exercise: Regular physical activity can help manage anxiety in general. It not only helps use up the energy created by anxiety but also releases endorphins which improve mood.

  6. Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery can help calm the body's anxiety response.

  7. Talk About It: Sharing your worries with others can sometimes help to put things in perspective and reduce the intensity of your anxiety. 



ncs mike ward

vitl london anxiety clinic