GAD Symptoms What Is Destination Anxiety? By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." Learn about our editorial process Published on September 20, 2022 Print Rebecca Smith / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents What Is Destination Anxiety? History Signs Causes Types Impact Coping How to Overcome Destination Anxiety What Is Destination Anxiety? Destination Anxiety Destination anxiety refers to the belief that happiness is waiting for you at some point in the future when you attain something. This can be a new job, relationship, material possession, or anything else that you believe will make you happy. The problem with this way of thinking is that it leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction with your current life and a constant yearning for something more. This can cause immense amounts of stress and anxiety, as well as prevent you from enjoying the present moment. If you live with destination anxiety, it is essential to realize that happiness is not something that you need to wait for. It is something that you can find right now, in the present moment. By learning to appreciate what you have and finding contentment in the here and now, you can start to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Additionally, it is important to remember that nothing in life is guaranteed. Even if you do achieve your goals, there is no guarantee that you will be happy. So, instead of chasing after happiness, focus on enjoying the journey and living your life to the fullest. History of Destination Anxiety The concept of destination anxiety is not new. It has been around for centuries and has been spoken about by many different philosophers and thinkers. People Often Live in the Past or Future The concept was discussed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience." In this book, Csikszentmihalyi discusses the idea that humans are often unhappy because they are not living in the present moment. Instead, their minds are constantly focused on the past or the future. This can lead to a feeling of anxiety and stress, as well as prevent people from enjoying their lives. The idea of destination anxiety has also been discussed by other thinkers such as philosopher Alan Watts and self-help author Eckhart Tolle. Both of these individuals have spoken about the importance of living in the present moment and finding happiness within yourself. Signs of Destination Anxiety There are several signs that you may be living with destination anxiety. If you find yourself constantly thinking about the future and what you need to do in order to be happy, this is a sign that you are not living in the present moment.Additionally, if you are always striving for more and feel unsatisfied with your current situation, this may also be a sign of destination anxiety.Other signs include feeling stressed or anxious about the future, as well as feeling like you are not good enough or that you have to achieve certain things in order to be happy. How to Manage The Feeling of Life Being Out of Control Causes of Destination Anxiety There are several different causes of destination anxiety: One of the main causes of destination anxiety is the belief that happiness is something that you need to achieve or attain. This can be a result of societal pressure or messages that you have received throughout your life. For example, you may have been told that you need to get a good job in order to be happy, or that you need to find a partner in order to feel fulfilled.Another cause of destination anxiety is the fear of missing out. With social media, it is easy to compare your life to others and feel like you are not good enough. This can lead to feelings of envy and jealousy, as well as a constant yearning for more.Finally, destination anxiety can also be caused by a lack of self-acceptance. If you do not feel good enough or worthy of happiness, this can lead to anxiety and stress. 'I Hate Myself': 8 Ways to Combat Self-Hatred Types of Destination Anxiety There are two main types of destination anxiety: internal and external. Internal destination anxiety is when you are focused on your own goals and what you need to do in order to be happy. This can be caused by a lack of self-acceptance or the belief that happiness is something that you need to achieve. External destination anxiety is when you are focused on others and what they have. This can be caused by the fear of missing out or feelings of jealousy. How You Can Learn to Manage Your Anxiety Now Impact of Destination Anxiety Destination anxiety can have a negative impact on your life in several ways: It can prevent you from enjoying the present moment and living your life to the fullest. It can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as prevent you from achieving your goals. It can also cause you to miss out on opportunities and experiences that could be beneficial to you. Finally, it can lead to negative self-talk and a negative outlook on life. “I’m Not Good at Anything”: How to Combat Low Self-Esteem Coping with Destination Anxiety There are several things that you can do in order to cope with destination anxiety: One of the best things that you can do is to focus on the present moment. This means living in the here and now and enjoying your life as it is. Additionally, it is important to practice self-acceptance and to let go of the need to achieve certain things in order to be happy. It is also important to focus on your own happiness and to find ways to enjoy your life. This can be achieved by doing things that you love, spending time with people who make you happy, and taking care of yourself. Finally, it is important to remember that everyone has their own journey in life and that there is no one right way to be happy. Everyone experiences ups and downs, and it is important to accept this. ‘I Hate My Life:' What to Do and How to Cope How to Overcome Destination Anxiety There are several steps that you can take in order to overcome destination anxiety: Identify the thoughts and beliefs that are causing your anxiety. Once you have identified these, you can start to challenge them. For example, if you believe that you need to achieve certain things in order to be happy, ask yourself why this is. Is there evidence to support this belief? Is it really true that you need to do these things in order to be happy? Focus on the present moment. This means living in the here and now and enjoying your life as it is. Try to let go of the need to constantly compare yourself to others or to achieve certain things. Practice self-acceptance and let go of the need to be perfect. Remember that everyone has their own journey in life and that there is no one right way to be happy. Accepting yourself for who you are is an important step in overcoming destination anxiety. Focus on your own happiness. Find things that you love to do and make time for them. Spend time with people who make you happy and take care of yourself. Doing things that make you happy will help you to overcome destination anxiety. Seek professional help. If you are struggling to cope with destination anxiety on your own. A therapist can help you to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are causing your anxiety and can provide you with tools and strategies to overcome it. How to Snap Out of the Anxiety Cycle and Overcome Worry A Word From Verywell Destination anxiety is a common problem that can have a negative impact on your life. However, there are things that you can do to overcome it. By following the steps above, you can start to overcome destination anxiety and live a happier life. 7 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Crocq MA. A history of anxiety: from Hippocrates to DSM. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015 Sep;17(3):319-25. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2015.17.3/macrocq. PMID: 26487812; PMCID: PMC4610616. Csikszentmihalyi M, Lebuda I. 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Self-esteem and self-acceptance: an examination into their relationship and their effect on psychological health. J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2006;13(5):483-489. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2850.2006.00959.x By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for GAD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.