It was clear that they were getting more nervous in anticipation of the bridge ahead. This made it nearly impossible for them to enjoy the experience of the hike they were already on and it changed the experience for the rest of the hikers.
Many of us spend a lot of our lives fretting. We are haunted by worries and anticipation. When we experience this uneasy state of anticipation, consciously or unconsciously, we are we are more susceptible to imagine calamities and upheavals. Our mind spins worse and worse stories and we begin to feel overwhelmed and out of control. For some of us, this is the way we begin our day. When we wake up, we feel our world is going to fall apart.
Here are some tips to deal with anticipatory anxiety:
Cross the Bridge When We Come to It. Muster up what we need to do so that we can participate and maybe even enjoy “the hike.” When we get to the part that “scares” us, put into place a plan that was already thought through. If, in fact, the bridge actually IS too narrow, settle in. Relax in a beautiful spot and wait till the other hikers return over that same bridge. Understand that when we are at the bridge, crossroads, or whatever it is, we have the option of reconsidering. We don’t have that option if we are not there. We remove judgment and just leave it as an option. We may wish to try…or not.
Interrupt the Emotion. Change the energy. Interrupt the anticipatory fear with a random positive thought. If we can’t think of an actual thought in time, we can keep some positive images nearby to look at when caught in the grip of worry. No need to wait for the end of the “anticipation.” We have the capacity to end it with interrupting it and replacing it with something positive.
Learn Positivity. Anticipatory anxiety is a negative projection about an unknown outcome. We can learn to convert this projection into a more hopeful, positive anticipation. We can learn ways to transform this into hope. Hope is the positive anticipation of an unknown outcome. We can make a plan and be prepared.
Become Present. We can place our attention on the anxiety but not analyze it; not get stuck in it. Just observe it; notice it and stay away from getting attached to it or invested in it. Instead, we can notice “where” our anxiety is. Is it in the heart? Stomach? Head? We can simply watch it without judgment and in time, allow a different feeling, likely calm, take its place.