Anxious anticipation, what does it consist of

David Holt
Anxious anticipation, what does it consist of

Anxious anticipation or catastrophism is a cognitive distortion characterized by the fact that the person tends to catastrophically anticipate any event or situation that will occur in the future.


  • What does it consist of?
  • Who is affected?
  • Suffer twice
  • Become aware of the problem
  • Identify the problem and remedy

What does it consist of?

The person always foresees the worst scenario, playing a little guessing the outcome of the situations that may occur, and guessing the future.

Generally this divination never has a positive sense, it is always negative, and the person always tends to expect the worst.

For example, you think you will fail an exam, or that you are seriously ill, if you collect the results of a medical test, you think the results will be negative, etc..

There is a tendency to, first anticipate the events, and then anticipate in a catastrophic or very negative way, hoping the result is always detrimental.

Who is affected?

This type of cognitive problem is very characteristic of anxious people or neurotic people, who tend to live everything with great intensity, with a lot of tension, and are obsessed with predicting the future with a rather dire result.

It is important to be aware when we do this, because what we are doing with these types of thoughts is suffering twice for the same problem.

Suffer twice

We suffer in advance, before it happens, and if the prognosis is finally fulfilled, and it was really something negative, we suffer again when the event itself occurs. And there is no point in suffering in advance for something that we do not know if it will happen or not.

For example, if I do some medical tests and I am already thinking and suffering until the moment of collecting the result, for two or three weeks before, without sleeping at night, anticipating that it will surely go wrong, thinking that surely I am seriously ill etc., and then the test results come in and they are positive, what was the point of having suffered in advance?

It does not make any sense. The only thing we achieve is to increase our anxiety, reach states of fear, discomfort, and unnecessary suffering.

Become aware of the problem

So the most important thing is to realize and become aware of when we are falling into that catastrophism, and try not to always anticipate that the result of future processes will always be negative..

We also do it a lot in personal relationships. "I'm sure if I say this he will be upset ...", "Maybe if I ask a friend for this favor, he will get upset with me or don't want to ..."

It is not necessary to assume the result of things that have not happened, nor is it necessary to anticipate the result of them always in a negative way.

Identify the problem and remedy

We do not have a crystal ball to put ourselves in the mind of the other, nor to predict the future. Therefore it is important to identify when we do this, to be able to change it and not take things for granted, or assume, or guess, or anticipate.

If you want to know the result of an action or process, the best thing you can do is ask or say it, communicate it to the person, and wait to see what the result is, because most of the time the fears that we have are not fulfilled. , and in the few cases in which the worst forecasts are fulfilled, we will act accordingly.

So it is important to identify this problem, very common in anxious people, of predicting the future in a catastrophic way, and begin to realize it and try to change it to avoid suffering in advance about events that we do not know if they will occur.

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