Why Do I Have a Sense of Impending Doom?

Impending Doom

Are you constantly worried that something bad is going to happen? When you drop your kids off at school, do you imagine that it could be the last time you’ll see them? When you see a tragic event in the news—a house fire, a child attacked by a dog, or a horrible car crash—do you believe that it will happen to you or a loved one? If so, you have something in common with a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter.

Superstar Meghan Trainor, whose debut single “All About That Bass” hit #1 on the charts and sold over 11 million copies worldwide, says she lives with a persistent sense that something terrible is about to happen.

“I have an impending fear that I’m going to die or that someone I love is going to die,” she says in a session with Dr. Daniel Amen as part of the Scan My Brain series. “Every time they leave the house, I think they’re going to get in an accident and that’s the last time I’ll see them.” She also worries that her baby will die from SIDS or will get cancer.

Maybe you can relate.

When it comes to mental health and well-being, input equals output. What you consume—social media, TV shows, films, music, and more—can have either a positive or negative impact on your emotions. Click To Tweet


Having a sense of dread or a premonition that something tragic is about to happen is common and may involve feeling anxious, restless, a sense of urgency, or a premonition that tragedy is imminent. It is especially common among people with certain mental health issues, such as:

  • Anxiety disorders and panic attacks: People who have anxiety are likely to predict the worst and to have other automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) that increase fear and worry. Feelings of intense fear or dread that come on suddenly may be a sign of a panic attack.
  • Postpartum anxiety: You may be aware of postpartum depression, which affects approximately 25% of new moms, but you may not realize that postpartum anxiety (PPA) is also common. One study in the Journal of Women’s Health showed that 18% of women experienced postpartum anxiety symptoms. affecting about 10% of new moms. While the baby blues can make you feel down, this related condition is associated with excessive worry, feelings of dread, and racing thoughts. Meghan Trainor says her anxious thoughts ramped up after having a baby.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Research from 2019 suggests that living with anxiety or PTSD is associated with a heightened stress response, indicating that the brain senses disaster even when you are not in a dangerous situation.
  • Depression: When you have depression, you tend to view the world in a negative way. Depressive symptoms include feeling hopeless or helpless to change your situation, thoughts of death or suicide, and pessimism—all of which add up to a gloomy outlook.
  • Bipolar disorder: People with bipolar disorder experience dramatic mood changes characterized by periods of mania and depression. During depressive periods, a sense of impending catastrophe may emerge.
  • Physical causes: Biological factors can also lead to a sense of impending doom. Some people experience a feeling of dread prior to a heart attack, seizure, or other physical issues. Exposure to toxins can also trigger a sense of malaise.


When it comes to mental health and well-being, input equals output. What you consume—social media, TV shows, films, music, and more—can have either a positive or negative impact on your emotions. In the episode of Scan My Brain, Trainor admits to Dr. Amen that she has a habit of watching Dateline and other whodunnit murder investigations before going to sleep. Is it any wonder, Dr. Amen says, that Trainor’s dreams are riddled with angst?

To overcome feelings of dread, it’s important to fuel your brain with positivity.

Watch your input.

Leave the scary movies, frightening news, and murder stories behind and fill your brain and mind with happy thoughts and feel-good stories.

Train your mind.

Don’t let the ANTs take control of your mind. Learn to challenge your negative thoughts.

Seek help.

If you feel paralyzed by your fears, it may be time to seek professional help. Psychotherapy and other forms of treatment may help you develop a more optimistic view of life.

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. Good one!

    Comment by Timothy Lee — March 21, 2022 @ 5:01 AM

  2. This is how I live my life every day for about 30 years. I drive my poor daughter crazy.
    I have suffered with anxiety for 35 years caused by a car accident in which I had a concussion. Horrible way to live.

    Comment by Kathy Harrington — March 21, 2022 @ 8:09 AM

  3. This information is perfect and very helpful. I used to see Dr. Amen on public television and always thought he was exactly right about the brain.

    Comment by Wendy H. Barrios — March 21, 2022 @ 8:42 AM

  4. Controlling ones thoughts is so vital. Most do not understanding the universal laws of
    creativity. And, we CAN control our thoughts. Reject what you don’t want, inject the
    thoughts you DO want. Concentrate on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    Change your thoughts, change your life.

    Comment by Virginia Lee — March 21, 2022 @ 9:15 AM

  5. I thought you were describing me. That’s exactly how I feel. It all started when I had a child 20 yrs ago. I wish I had the means to see Dr. Amen. Thanks for this article.

    Comment by LJ — March 21, 2022 @ 12:01 PM

  6. I would have bouts of anxiety where I could barely walk out my door, but then I stopped drinking alcohol and then anything with caffeine and tried other ways to improve my health, what do you know…? My mood changed with a brighter outlook on life from day to day. Life has become more meaningful and I can tell that it has helped my son tremendously by seeing my example. I still have flashes of negative thoughts but they don’t effect me emotionally in the same way anymore. When thoughts like that turn up I treat it like a cautionary tale and pray, then I proceed with my day knowing it isn’t worth it to waste my life worrying it away

    Comment by Ermie — March 23, 2022 @ 2:39 PM

  7. excellent topic!

    Comment by Doug Morris — November 15, 2023 @ 7:34 PM

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