Some helpful tips to avoid letting anticipatory anxiety make you lose control.
Anticipatory anxiety is a psychological alteration consisting of the person experiencing very intense feelings of fear or panic in the face of a possible imminent disaster or failure, whether real or perceived.
In a situation like the current one, in which social and health alarm prevails, these types of problems are becoming widespread among the population and are increasingly present in all types of people.
The truth is that this form of anxiety can seriously alter the life of those who suffer from it, and even prevent them from carrying out their daily obligations normally. Fortunately, there are a series of measures and strategies to apply in cases of anticipatory anxiety caused by the fear of contracting a virus or by any other real or imagined fear.
Tips for managing anticipatory anxiety in the face of uncertainty
If you are interested in knowing what are the most recommended keys to manage anticipatory anxiety well in times of uncertainty, read on and apply these guidelines to your personal case.
1. You don’t want to totally eliminate anxiety
When managing the anticipatory anxiety that a person may experience in the face of a contagious disease, mainly due to the fear of contracting it, it is advisable not to become obsessed with the fact of wanting to completely eliminate the symptoms of anxiety.
And it is often that stubbornness in eliminating the negative thoughts associated with this alteration is usually counterproductive and exacerbates the anxiety symptoms even more, since it predisposes us to pay more attention to them.
Keep in mind that anticipatory anxiety is often accompanied by symptoms such as tachycardia, sweating, dizziness, tremors, and muscle tension, among others. When they express themselves, recognize them for what they are, nothing more and nothing less. The measures to be adopted must be applied under the premise that we cannot totally control what crosses our mind.
2. Set medium and long-term goals
Another way in which a person can successfully manage anticipatory anxiety is by keeping the mind occupied, for example, with goals and objectives set in the medium and long term.
By setting specific goals, you will be able to focus your attention more easily on specific aspects of your day-to-day life, and you will be less exposed to moments of wandering, in which we are more prone to enter a loop of negative and anxious thoughts.
It is not a matter of always being distracted, but of soaking up experiences capable of “catching” our mind (as stimulating or exciting) as much or more than what worries us.
Thus, even if we are not dedicating ourselves to achieving these goals, our imagination and our system of spontaneous evocation of memories will have other references in addition to what generated anticipatory anxiety, and the latter will have to “compete” with many other mental contents. .
3. Learn relaxation techniques to use at key moments
There are some relaxation techniques that have proven effective in controlling the symptoms of anticipatory anxiety.
Simple techniques and practices to learn, such as Mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, or controlled breathing can reduce anxiety levels and bring us to a state of serenity and relaxation from which it is easier to let go of intrusive thoughts.
4. Lead a healthy lifestyle
A good way to cope with anticipatory anxiety is to adopt healthy activities and start a healthy lifestyle, since a hectic and exhausted pace of life can increase anxiety symptoms. Worse bodies are more likely to give way to psychological problems, including anxiety disorders.
Some of the most recommended healthy habits are: exercising regularly during the week to release endorphins, maintaining a healthy diet rich in the necessary macronutrients and vitamins and based on little processed foods, having a good level of daily hygiene and also maintaining a routine of stable and satisfactory sleep of more than 7 hours a day.
5. Keep a self-log of thoughts
Keeping a detailed record of your own thoughts during the day can be a good tool to detect recurring thoughts that are negative and generate discomfort in time.
Recognizing those thoughts that generate anxiety is the first step to change that negative dynamic and initiate a conversion towards more adaptive thoughts that are a source of well-being.
6. Take steps to fix the root problem
Sometimes it is not possible to do anything “beyond oneself” to eliminate the source of anticipatory anxiety, but at other times, it is. For example, if we have an exam in two weeks and we suffer because we believe that it will go badly, starting to prepare and make good use of time is essential to avoid being paralyzed by anxiety.
The most useful thing to achieve this is to establish a clear schedule and behavior guidelines that we must adhere to strictly, even if we do not feel like it, so as not to postpone that task and not let problems accumulate. Of course, it must be a realistic schedule and that we are able to comply, since if not, we will turn our back on it in a matter of a couple of days.
7. Go to a psychologist
Since anticipatory anxiety is a psychological problem that can severely affect the proper functioning of a person in their day-to-day life, it is worth considering the idea of attending psychotherapy to give it a solution from professionals who see our case and offer tailor-made solutions.
Are you looking for psychotherapy services?
If you are considering going to the psychologist to treat problems such as discomfort linked to anxiety or a low mood, get in touch with our team of professionals. At Psicotools we perform psychotherapy both in person at our center in Barcelona, and through online therapy. On this page there is more information about us.