5 Tips to Manage Anticipatory Anxiety.

We all deal with anxious feelings, but sometimes, they can get overwhelming. So, here are five tips for managing anticipatory anxiety.

Does thinking about the future keep you up at night? Do you run over every possible future scenario in your head out of worry? Then, you may be dealing with anticipatory anxiety.


Anticipatory anxiety is the fear or worry that focuses on the bad things that could happen in the future. With this type of anxiety, you tend to fixate on the things you can’t truly control or predict.

You may experience anticipatory anxiety before:

  • Work meetings
  • Presentations
  • Interviews
  • Musical or athletic performances
  • A date
  • A social event

Anticipatory anxiety is characterised by the phrase “What if…?”
Let’s look at some examples:
“What if I mess up this job interview?”
“What if I fail my exam?”
“What if my date is terrible?”
“What if I forget the words of my speech?”
“What if I mess up the presentation?”


  1. Hyperventilating
  2. Chest pain
  3. Muscle spasms
  4. Rumination
  5. Difficulty concentrating
  6. Feelings of apprehension


Anxiety is a crippling feeling that can take over our entire body, and it takes a conscious effort to get over those anxious thoughts. Here are five tips to help you manage anticipatory anxiety.

1. Call out your anxious thoughts.

The kryptonite of anxiety is anticipation. Anxiety breeds in silence and confusion. By giving it a name, calling out what it is and anticipating your thought traps before they happen is one of the simplest yet underutilised tools.

For example, if you know that when doing a task at work, you find it particularly difficult, you criticise yourself before you do the task and tell your brain, “I knew I was going to think that… I knew I was going to put myself down.” Suddenly those thoughts don’t seem so strong, and somehow they even soften just a bit.

2. Practice relaxation techniques.

One way to significantly decrease feelings of anxiousness or nervousness is to focus on deep breathing. You can start by following guided breathing techniques to control your wandering thoughts and bring your mind back to the present.

Another way to relax is to close your eyes and focus on creating calm and positive visual imagery. Just picture your happy place, and you will find that you are more at peace.

3. Find a healthy distraction.

Sometimes, you just need a break from your anxious thoughts, and that’s okay. Do an activity to distract yourself from those crippling thoughts and relieve some of the stress.

Whether it’s going for a walk, talking to a friend, listening to music, or watching a comfort show, these are all healthy ways to shift your focus to something else for a little while. You can always come back to them and work through your feelings.

4. Take action.

Although the intrusive and negative thoughts may feel like they are out of your control, it’s not entirely true. There are certain aspects that you can control and take action to feel less anxious than before.

There are small ways to help you manage anticipatory anxiety. For example, if you are worried about an upcoming presentation, practice in front of your family. If you are concerned about a loved one, give them a call to check on them.

5. Seek professional help.

Lastly, it always helps to talk about how you are feeling with a trusted friend or family member. Chances are, they feel the same way, too, and they can be your source of comfort and understanding.

I hope you find these tips helpful in managing anticipatory anxiety. However, if you experience persistent feelings of anticipatory anxiety, you should seek professional help by talking to a trained therapist and following helpful tools to manage anxiety.

If you, a friend, or a family member, are facing any struggles with your mental health or looking for assistance to understand your problems better, feel free to anonymously send me your questions here. – https://bit.ly/3uFL7Yf.

Table of Contents