Confusing Excitement With Danger

Confusing Excitement With Danger

If there’s one thing my body absolutely great at – it’s confusing excitement with danger. The same feelings that make feel anxious often tend to pop up when I’m excited about something but my body/brain doesn’t understand the difference. All it feels is DANGER. I wanted to give some tips for anyone else who feels a huge surge of anxiety over things that should be happy and exciting. I’m not an expert but when I was freaking out over my book release, a lot of these tips helped me separate the anxiety from the excitement.

Understanding the Overlap

It’s super interesting how our bodies react to excitement and danger in almost the same way. You know that fluttery feeling in your stomach, the quickening heartbeat, or that rush of energy you get? That’s your body’s way of preparing you for what’s coming, whether it’s something exciting, terrifying, or a little bit of both. It’s like your body has this one-size-fits-all reaction to anything that gets your adrenaline pumping.

It’s so freaking easy to misinterpret these signals or the anxiety feels so overwhelming that you can’t see past it. There have been times when I was genuinely looking forward to something but then my body started sending out the same signals I get when I’m anxious. It’s a bit like my body’s alarm system getting a bit too eager, ringing the alarm bell even when there’s no real danger.

It’s like thank you for trying to save my life but I’m good.

Here’s what helps when my body/brain starts confusing excitement with danger.

  1. Acknowledge the Feeling: Recognize that feeling anxious is a normal response, even to good things. By acknowledging it, you’re not fighting against it, which can actually reduce its intensity. But it’s also important to acknowledge that your anxiety signals might be going overboard and to focus on trying to lessen that. (It sometimes feels like you’re in a room with a faulty smoke detector and all you can do is put some earplugs in and try to ignore it)
  2. Reframe Your Thoughts: Try to reframe the situation in your mind. Instead of thinking of the potential dangers or what could go wrong, focus on what you’re excited about. Visualize the best outcomes. Convince yourself that you’re going to have fun, it’s going to be great, and there’s SO much to look forward to. I call this compassionate reassurance. Be kind but be firm – you’re going to have the best time.
  3. Breathe and Ground Yourself: Simple breathing exercises or grounding techniques can be super helpful. They can help bring you back to the present moment and reduce those intense feelings.
  4. Lean Into the Excitement: Remember that excitement is a sign that you’re about to do something meaningful or fun, even if the anxiety wires are getting a bit crossed. Try to lean into that feeling of excitement, embracing the adventure that comes with it. I like to journal and write down the things I’m excited about it.
  5. Share Your Feelings: Talk to a friend or someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Sometimes, just putting it into words can make a big difference. And pay attention to what you need from the other person! Do you just need to word-vomit out all of the worries? Do you want reassurance? Maybe a little of both?

Turning the excitement-danger-anxiety mix off isn’t easy.

The best start is understanding your body’s reactions, acknowledging your feelings, and gently steering your mind toward the excitement (which gets easier with practice). And remember, it’s okay to feel both excited and anxious.

I’d love to hear about your experiences. How do you deal with your body confusing excitement with danger? Have you ever found yourself feeling anxious about something you were actually excited about? What helped you focus on the excitement part?

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