Let’s talk about the anxiety we feel when we are anticipating something or that anxiety we feel when we are uncertainty about the future.

With the start of a new month and Fall just around the corner, you may be reflecting on the uncertainty of going back to in-person work, in-person school or other activities in this age of Covid. Or maybe you are just anticipating what 2022 would bring in just 4 months.

When we are uncertain about something it affects our ability to prepare for that event and thus it sometimes increases our anxiety.

Anticipation anxiety or uncertainty can be quite debilitating. It can affect our ability to concentrate, our mood, and our interest in doing things we love. We might even experience muscle tension, pain, loss of appetite, and sleep problems.

A network of brain regions are involved when we experience anticipation anxiety.  The brain network includes a dynamic interplay between fear processing areas such as the amygdala and the ability for more sophisticated cognitive processing areas in our frontal lobe such as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and orbitofrontal cortex to regulate that fear response. Other brain areas, like the anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula, are also involved, and they are responsible for our understanding of self and emotions.

Some individuals experience this sort of anxiety to clinically significant levels and require clinical interventions like therapy and medication.

Other individuals can do things that affect the activity of the brain areas involved to help regulate those feelings. For a start, it’s important when you feel uncertain to be mindful of your physical needs – don’t ignore them, check your thoughts and challenge untrue ones, and confide in someone you trust.

Know that you can work with your brain to bring about a peace in uncertainty.  Try these things and if you need more help talk to our doctor.