In this life, you never know what forthcoming events are going to plague your mind and body with anxiety. If you go along living in the present, you’ll be completely blindsided when panic and anxiety do set in, but with the right preparation, such unpleasant surprises are avoidable. Here’s how to practice feeling anxious for something that might make you anxious in the future:
Ask, “What could go wrong?”
Ease into it by selecting a mundane and seemingly safe event like grabbing coffee with a friend, then consider all the ways it might be horrible. Maybe you will be incapable of making conversation and have nothing interesting to say, then realize you will never have anything interesting to say again because you stopped learning new things when you graduated college. Next, consider the consequences. When you part ways, will your friend ruminate on all the whack shit you said during coffee? Now turn things into high gear: Will your friend be struck by a car and die on their way home while thinking about all the whack shit you said? What will mourning them be like? All important things to think about!
Imagine how anxious you would feel, then feel it.
What if you were on the subway and it was really hot and crowded, and then the train stopped between stations, and you were held there for 20 minutes? Would you have a panic attack? Would you faint? Think about it, and, if you can, think about it while you’re on the subway during any normal unfettered commute. What if you applied for your dream job and then let yourself want it so badly but didn’t get it? What if you squirted out some hand lotion and it sounded like a wet fart? It’s important that you feel all of these things now so that if they happen in the future, you’ll get to feel them twice.
Think about the airport.
Are you going to the airport any time soon? Start feeling anxious about it now. The drug-sniffing dog is going to single you out even though you don’t have any drugs. The pilot is going to die and then you are going to have to fly the plane (the co-pilot is grieving the pilot).
YOU’RE GONNA BE LATE.
Self-explanatory. Worry away!
Hopefully, these tips will equip you with the tools to practice preemptive, anticipatory anxiety. Bad luck!