Youth Services System

What is Anticipatory Anxiety?

anxious girl sitting in window

Most of us dread going back to work on Mondays after a weekend off, and some of us grow to hate the feelings that accompany returning to school when summer ends. Anticipating events over time can cause us to become increasingly anxious about them.

If you have ever experienced those feelings, you might have encountered anticipatory anxiety. According to Anxiety BC, anticipatory anxiety is “the fear and dread you experience before the event.” Anticipatory anxiety is not a standalone anxiety disorder, but is a type of anxiety that can be experienced on its own or as part of a larger anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder.

According to Anxiety BC, some events that can trigger anticipatory anxiety might include:

  • Applying for a new job
  • Athletic, musical or other performances
  • Going on a date or to a party
  • Joining a club, team or sport
  • Starting a job
  • Preparing for an interview
  • Going on vacation
  • Tests, projects and oral reports

Anticipatory anxiety is more than just the nervous jitters that some of us get before many of the events listed. It can be debilitating and can even make some people physically ill. Anticipatory anxiety could lead to sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting.

Controlling anticipatory anxiety can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Remember that though these events can be scary, they can also be fun and exciting. Keep in mind that everyone feels anxious to some degree about new beginnings and about doing things that they have never done before. Your feelings are valid, however, you should not let them control your life.

If you need help managing your anticipatory anxiety, reach out to us. We would be happy to help.

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Topics: Anxiety, Mental Ilness, Mental Health