Anxiety Mental Health Self-Care Self-Help

Panic Attacks About the Future? Here Are 4 Ways to Help

Worry is a natural human emotion that makes us think about what might happen next. Being worried about the future is common.

Do you get frustrated when people ask if you’re going to uni or what career you want? Sometimes it can feel like there are a lot of decisions to have to make all at once. Maybe you just don’t know yet, and that’s OK. 

Worries about money, health, relationships and the environment are all pretty common. There’s a lot of uncertainty in life and worrying about how everything is going to pan out can be very distressing.

When worry gets overwhelming some people get panic attacks. These are the body’s way of trying to cope with the intense fear we feel as our anxiety spills over.

Here are 4 ways to help control your panicking thoughts:

It’s OK to make a mistake

Sometimes your worry about the future can be very intense, as you fear that you will make a bad choice. Try to remember that it’s OK to change your mind. For example, it’s very common for people to start uni and then decide it’s not for them and quit or change their degree. If you stay in the worrying stage and never make a decision you won’t know if something is right for you. A fulfilling life can often involve taking risks to help us figure things out. 

Try to stay in the present

There’s only so far you can plan and think through what might happen next in your life. If you have been doing this a lot, try to spend time focusing on the here and now. Aim to bring yourself back to the present and try to enjoy the little things in life that make you happy right now.

woman, sunshine, sun, heart, hands, hands make heart, sunset, nature

Give yourself worry time

When worry takes over your whole day that’s when it’s likely to start affecting your mental health and may cause you to experience panic attacks. Try – if you can – to schedule ‘worry time’ where you give yourself 20 minutes a day to allow yourself to worry. If worries come up at other times in the day you might want to make a quick note and come back to focusing on them in your worry time. This can take some practise, as it might at first feel impossible to shut these thoughts out. 

Embrace the fact that life is uncertain

Reminding yourself that the only certainty in life is uncertainty will help you remember that no one knows what will happen in the future. Life is a mystery. You can plan and predict things in your life but ultimately you can only think through what might happen; you can never know what will happen. Learning to embrace this can help take the burden off trying to get everything perfect for your future.

Remember, we all worry. However, when it feels like this worry is taking over your life it might be time to find ways to cope that work for you. If you ever need to talk, Ditch the Label has a wonderful online community full of thousands of people that are there to talk about anything you like! Or you can get confidential advice from a trained mentor, click the link below to join!

Need to talk?

Join the internet’s safe space

Image of the author, Chloe Foster

Chloe Foster has a background in working in mental health and youth work. Today she runs Sussex Rainbow Counselling where she specialises in counselling LGBTQ clients online.

Chloe holds a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapeutic humanistic counselling from The University of Brighton. She is also an approved accredited registrant member of the National Counselling Society, and an accredited gender, sexuality and relationship diversities therapist with Pink Therapy.

How do I stop panicking about the future?

Firstly, make sure you are looking after yourself, both physically and mentally. Give yourself some time to switch off and give your mind some self-care.

Secondly, be sure to talk about it with somebody you love and trust. You’ll find opening up with lessen the pressure and anxiety you are feeling, and they may make you realise there is a lot less to worry about than you think.

Is it worth worrying about future?

No, it can actually have some negative consequences as it may stop you from doing what you actually want to do. But don’t worry, it is extremely common to worry about the future and a normal response to many situations.

What is rumination anxiety?

Rumination anxiety is defined as an intense focus on the reasons of why you are unhappy or distressed and the possible consequences. It is known as a ‘stress-magnifier’ as it can make your negative feelings much worse.