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Do you feel like something bad is going to happen to you? As if there is some sense of doom that hangs over you?
Is this feeling something that comes and goes, or do you find it’s something you experience regularly?
Does it trouble your peace a majority of the time?
You’re not alone. The feeling of dread and doom is one that everyone experiences, though some people experience it more than others. And as you will see, there are quite a few reasons for it.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you understand, process, and deal with a feeling that something bad is about to happen. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient (get 10% off your first month when you sign up through this link).
1. Gut feeling or intuition.
Intuition is a powerful tool that can help you avoid negative situations.
Some believe intuition and gut feelings come from a spiritual place where they tap into something unknowable. However, regular intuition has long been studied.
Simply put, intuition is your subconscious mind realizing something before your conscious mind does based on the constant flow of information it is absorbing and analyzing.
For example, let’s say you’re at a party. Everyone is partying and having a good time. The atmosphere is light and cheerful, but then the atmosphere changes. Things tense up. The overall vibe of the people there shifts to one of concern or seriousness. It almost feels like something bad is about to go down. And then, you can hear some arguing somewhere else in the house.
In that scenario, your subconscious mind is identifying the change in behavior of the group of people you’re partying with. And because it’s changed for the worse, your brain is issuing a warning, “Hey! Danger! Danger! Danger! It’s time to leave before someone gets shot or stabbed!”
2. Previous trauma or negative experiences.
Previous trauma or negative experiences may cause you to feel like something bad will happen. In this scenario, your subconscious mind may be picking up and responding to different cues that preceded a previous trauma which is presently creating negative feelings to warn you, “Hey! We’re about to enter another threatening situation that harmed us before!”
The problem is that those feelings aren’t necessarily accurate. They can cause undue stress and anxiety because your mind confuses an everyday situation for a potentially harmful one.
Consider the following example of your boss at work telling you, “Hey. I need to talk to you on Monday morning. Come see me first thing in the morning.”
Now, suppose you’re not experienced in the workplace. In that case, that kind of statement typically precedes one of the following things: disciplinary action, getting fired, or getting laid off. None of them are positive, right? So it’s pretty reasonable to feel like something bad will happen if your boss asks to see you like that.
But reasonable doesn’t necessarily mean accurate. For example, your boss may also want to give you some accolades or talk to you about a work project. But no, your brain is instead creating that “Danger! Danger! We’re about to be under threat!” signal because it’s recognizing a previous pattern.
The same is true for trauma and PTSD. A trigger could cause your mind to instantly snap back into fight or flight mode because the subconscious recognizes something that happened in a previous traumatic experience before the conscious mind does.
3. Anticipatory anxiety.
What is anticipatory anxiety? Simply put, it’s worrying about an upcoming thing before it is here.
For example, have you ever felt nervous before a job interview? Or worried about being rejected by someone you want to ask out? Or dreaded an upcoming project deadline that you really need to get done because it is super important?
These are all examples of anticipatory anxiety. Everyone experiences them from time to time. That’s totally normal. All you do in that situation is do what you need to do and get through the situation.
However, anticipatory anxiety to the point where you constantly feel like a sense of dread is hanging over you and it prevents you from acting out of fear, is not normal. At this level, it’s best to seek the advice of a professional because your anxiety response is out of whack.
4. Physical or mental illness.
Different illnesses of all types can cause you to feel like something bad is going to happen. In fact, a feeling of dread that something terrible is about to happen is a commonly associated symptom of a person who will have a heart attack soon. Of course, a person believing that they will have a heart attack isn’t solely an indicator that they will. But it can be one symptom out of the list of symptoms that a person might experience.
Mental illnesses are a more obvious reason. Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and several other mental illnesses can cause a person to feel like something bad is going to happen. A person with a mental illness may think or feel things that do not align with the reality of their situation.
5. Consuming too much negativity.
A person who wishes to be knowledgeable and aware can drive themselves into anxiety and depression. There is this idea that comes down from past generations that it is important to be knowledgeable and aware of what goes on in the world. That was a fine sentiment 25-plus years ago when we didn’t have a 24/7 news cycle and social media apps engineered to exploit addictive features of one’s personality.
Back then, staying “up to date” on what was happening in the world was watching an hour-long news broadcast at 6 or 10 P.M., or reading the newspaper. That was it. The news was typically researched, fact-checked, and didn’t necessarily have bias.
Today, you have 24/7 news networks shoveling out garbage to keep up with social media so they can break the story first. The organization that first breaks the story gets the most eyeballs (whether that’s TV viewers or website visitors), and more eyeballs means more advertising and more revenue.
In addition, there’s always something terrible going on in the world! And there will always be terrible things going on in the world because people just aren’t that good. So, it’s good to be informed about what’s going on to a degree.
But if you dive into it and stay in it, it will fuel depression and anxiety, both of which can make you feel as though something bad is going to happen.
Do stay informed, but limit how much negativity you expose yourself to. And spend less time on social media.
Stress is a common cause of feeling something bad is about to happen. For example, let’s say you work two jobs and still can’t pay your bills. You’re living paycheck to paycheck with no cushion or safety net. Unfortunately, this is a problem that far too many people working full-time jobs find themselves in.
The stress that comes from living that lifestyle can cause great anxiety because you know you’re absolutely screwed once your car breaks down. You know you can’t take a day off from work if you get sick because you can’t afford to lose that money. And God forbid you should lose one of those jobs. So how will you make rent? Feed your kids? Feed yourself? Make your car payment?
A lot of stress will definitely cause anxiety for so many people living in that situation. And, really, there is no great solution. Get another job! Make more money! Yes, let’s just skip on down to the job and money tree to pluck a better-paying job from the branches!
Perfectionists often believe their perfectionism is only a strength until they realize it’s not. In reality, perfectionism mostly causes the perfectionist a bunch of additional stress they did not really need to subject themselves to.
That stress may cause the person to experience negative feelings like a sense of dread because their anxiety escalates from constantly putting themselves under pressure to perform perfectly at all times.
And you know what? In some situations, that’s a good thing. In some situations, you want everything to be perfect. In some situations, being less than perfect is unacceptable. After all, do you want your pilot to be sort of good or perfect at landing the plane? Or your engineers to be sort of good at math when planning out a bridge? No, you pretty much want perfect in those situations.
Being as close to perfect as one can be is sometimes necessary. Still, most situations that perfectionists find themselves in are not that serious. The perfectionist wastes so much time and energy stressing about making their thing perfect. They may talk negatively to themselves about how they aren’t good enough and need to do better. They could be trying to prove something to themselves or someone else who can’t see what they’re doing anymore. It could also be that they think it will make a bigger difference than it will.
Nowhere is that more true than in writing. Some writers will spend hours and days agonizing over a thing. Unfortunately, they often don’t realize that there is a point where you’re no longer perfecting the piece; you’re just shuffling words around. And besides that, the reader may not take what you write from it. The previous way it was written might have been better for the reader, even if it wasn’t for the writer.
8. Substance abuse or side effects.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Numerous substances, medications, and side effects can cause increased anxiety and a sense of dread. Hard drugs can cause anxiety, but so can caffeine and sugar.
Pot has always been an understated drug. If you listen to stoners, they’ll tell you that marijuana is just a harmless plant that gets you high for a while. That’s true for some people. For other people, marijuana can cause severe mental health issues and amplify anxiety. Marijuana can drive a person with schizophrenia into a severe episode of unwellness. In some people, it can kick-start mental illnesses or even induce psychosis.
Be mindful of what you put into your body and dial back on substances, including coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Energy-creating supplements can be just as bad.
9. Conflicts in personal life and relationships.
Conflict may be causing you a great deal of stress that may make you feel as though something bad is going to happen. That seems like a pretty obvious statement. Well, that’s because it is. If you’re having many problems with other people in your life, it’s reasonable for you to feel like something bad is going to happen.
Are you going to argue when you get home? Is your significant other going to break up with you? How are we going to address these problems that are looming over our heads? Are we going to be able to solve these problems? How can I better get along with this other person I’m fighting with?
Resolving those conflicts is really the only meaningful way to address them. Unfortunately, that sometimes means choosing a different path, even if it hurts. A relationship in which you fight with your significant other every other week will wreak havoc on both of you.
It’s totally normal to feel some anxiety about the future at times, particularly if you have something important coming up. However, you may need more direct help to stop worrying about the future. Addressing the issue won’t always be as simple as just changing a few of your lifestyle habits.
You will want to speak to a professional if you are experiencing persistent feelings of dread and doom about the future. You may be currently experiencing a physical or mental health issue that needs treatment before you can find relief from the feeling that something bad will happen.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message. And you'll get 10% off your first month when signing up through this link.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to deal with thoughts and feelings that bother them or upset them. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.