is typically, usually, generally much worse than the actual event.
Another way of saying that is: It’s almost certainly not going to be as bad as you think it will be.
Fearful anticipation is composed of thoughts - Thoughts which are insecure, anxious, negative; ones which make us feel fearful, frightened, scared, upset, worried, apprehensive, alarmed and even panicky or terrified.
These photos arrived the other day in an email.
Trust me – they’re totally tame.
Polar Bear Attack in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Underneath the photos this statement:
May your troubles always be smaller than you imagine!
We all have times when we initially expect the unpleasant or the worst. Dwelling in that mode, that mindset, is what creates the fearful anticipation and the unpleasant bodily symptoms too.
Fearful anticipation is composed of thoughts - thoughts which are insecure, anxious, negative; ones which make us feel fearful, frightened, scared, upset, worried, apprehensive, alarmed and even panicky or terrified.
And lots of times that fearful anticipation can take up more time and more energy than the actual event. Let’s say you have something to do – something that’s not the most pleasant thing in the world to you. You can spend hours, and even days just about consumed with the idea of danger –about what kind of symptoms you’re going to have and/or how intense they’re going to be.
Reminders: nervous fear is the fear of discomfort. We are afraid of feeling afraid or uncomfortable. Another thing to remember is that it’s not people, places or things that ‘cause’ our symptoms, it’s our attitude (composed of thoughts) about whatever it is in the outer environment. Of course an event can ‘trigger’ symptoms, trigger an original response, but we are the ones who keep the response alive – increasing it or exterminating it through our thoughts.
There is a way to cancel out those worry thoughts, with a straightforward, realistic thought: “I don’t know how good or bad I’m going to feel”. Better yet, “I don’t know how I’m going to feel”. Another secure thought I always used in the beginning was: “I have some tools, some secure thoughts to use now, plus, I CAN trust my basic functions to carry me through.
The most common argument I hear against/about that ‘trust your basic functions’ one is: “Well once upon a time I was so bad off from a panic attack I got carted away in an ambulance.” That’s a totally average thing to go through. Lots of us had that happen. Why did that particular past incident get so scary and the symptoms intense enough to make us think we needed emergency help? Because the fear thoughts overtook our minds. I for one can attest to the fact that when I had my ‘worst’ panic attack – danger thoughts were the ONLY thing going on in my mind. I made ‘it’ worse. I kept the panic alive. I kept the symptoms growing.
The only way to stop the fearful anticipation, either before or during a stress-filled event is to change to secure thoughts – Consistent and persistent, determined and relentless practice.
Practice. That’s the only method I know that keeps us At Ease and In Control, or in some cases at least ‘somewhat’ at ease and in control.
© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved