Anxiety is such a curious experience, especially when it’s felt in anticipation. The curious part about it is that the trepidation is often felt in relation to something that we want; our desire to create something or follow through on something with our horses gets mixed up in concern, worry or unsureness and any joy that might have been simultaneously present gets sucked out in a matter of seconds.
Anticipation anxiety is an important thing to learn to manage simply because of its inevitability. If you are ever planning to push your comfort zone, step up to that next level or do something that’s important to you, then chances are you are going to feel a little or a lot of it at some point.
We are, after all, creatures of the imminent arrival. Being on a journey of any sort involves a series of anticipated arrivals at various micro destinations along the way, so it goes without saying; if we plan to journey, we already have in our heads an anticipated destination point that we wish to land in at a future place.
What happens will be something like this: something is coming. You might be riding at a lesson, doing something with your horse that causes you concern, about to be a part of a competition. And you find yourself feeling…. anxious.
Many times, the message behind anxiety is confusing.
Huh, you tell yourself. I’m not sure this is worth it.
And so in the midst of your anxiety, maybe you decide to not do it or to modify your efforts in some way that downgrades the experience.
Two things to remember: anxiety at its essence is a call for preparation.
Anticipation anxiety is strengthened by a lack of follow-through.
The trajectory is this (overly simplified):
You feel anxious >> the concern builds >> you decide not to do the thing you want to do
In your mind, your anxiety says, I knew it! I knew there was something to be concerned about!
And the cycled is strengthened for next time.
There is no shame in anxiety. And there is no shame in deciding that for the moment, it’s all too much.
But understanding how it works and what your mind will tell you in the midst of it goes a long way to empowering yourself to navigate through it, and perhaps most importantly, to recognize you are not alone.
Anticipation anxiety is yet another expression of humanness.