Anticipatory Anxiety

Anticipatory Anxiety

Humans often experience anticipatory anxiety, where we worry in advance that a particular situation or day will not go as planned or will go poorly. This anxiety triggers our brains to think of various excuses to avoid the impending situation, providing us with temporary relief. For instance, imagine you have an opportunity to host an event, but fear grips you, making you worry that you might mess up or fumble on stage. 

Your brain then suggests that it’s better not to participate, convincing you that avoiding the event is a wise decision. This avoidance brings a sense of relief, leading you to withdraw from the opportunity.

However, this pattern of avoidance has consequences. By continuously opting out of situations that provoke anxiety, your brain learns that avoidance is a reliable way to achieve relief. This repeated behavior can gradually erode your confidence. With diminished confidence, you become even less likely to give yourself chances to face similar situations in the future. Consequently, anticipatory anxiety increases because each avoided opportunity reinforces the cycle of fear and withdrawal.

 This vicious cycle of anxiety, avoidance, and diminished confidence keeps you from overcoming the initial fear, perpetuating the spike in anticipatory anxiety.

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