Experts are now saying you may actually be confusing anxiety with excitement. That’s right, those butterflies in the pit of your stomach or your heart racing can be signs of excitement… or at least anxiety that you can turn into excitement.
Hayley McAuley of “Curious Counselling” elaborates on this, saying that the difference between anxiety and excitement is how we interpret and frame our responses. “Anxiety is associated with negativity, a sense of fear, failure, or concern for things going wrong. Excitement is a positive experience, so by reframing our thoughts, we can create a positive response to the physiological symptoms and therefore experience the feeling differently.”
Here are Hayley’s tips on how to turn anxiety into excitement (and please note this doesn’t apply to people who deal with ongoing anxiety).
- Tell yourself you are excited for the opportunities the situation will bring instead of being fearful of the threat you perceive.
- Look at what can be gained from the situation – there will always be a gain from any experience, and we can reframe that as a lesson.
- Focus on the positive outcomes of the situation and tell yourself you are excited about these.
- Accept the feelings in the body, listen to them but tell yourself they are there because you are excited.
- Engage your conscious brain by thinking out loud. Analyze the situation by doing the things mentioned above in order to minimize the overwhelming effects of the emotional brain. This doesn’t ignore the emotional response, but it quietens it enough to allow you to focus on the positive aspects of the situation.