Did you know
- that fear/anxiety and excitement are two sides of the same coin,
- that the body can’t tell the difference between anxiety and excitement,
- and that the difference is only the expectation that you have?
Sounds weird, right?
But when you really think about this it makes sense.
When you are in fear, or anxious about something, it is because you expect the outcome, or end result to be negative. Imagine you have a public speaking engagement coming up and because you know you did not prepare enough for it, you will experience fear and this might cause you to close up completely, so that you will not remember anything and you will fail the test.
But when you were prepared you could feel excitement because you would expect a positive outcome. Excitement relaxes your mind and this helps you to remember everything you prepared and you will nail that talk.
This applies to many situations and because fear causes your nervous system to go into the fight or flight mode, it stops your body from relaxing. It stops healing, it stops regenerating, it even stops digesting the food you just ate. All these things are not important when your nervous system thinks that you might be in danger and need to run away or fight off a predator or an enemy.
Of course, in today’s society, we will not encounter such dangerous situations in which we have to run away or fight for our life that often, but your nervous system does not know that. When you experience fear, it thinks you need to be ready for something bad and it prepares your body for that. Your nervous system has no idea what that bad thing is that you are expecting, so it prepares you for the worst case scenario, i.e. you have to run away or fight for your life.
However, when you expect a good outcome and are excited about something, your nervous system relaxes and allocates energy to all the systems in your body that would have been shut down in a fear-based situation. With excitement, your mind is relaxed, it thinks that all is well and you are safe, so it can start to heal, regenerate and digest and all the other things it cannot do when you are in an unsafe situation.
Stop being afraid about what could go wrong and start to be excited of what could go right.
When we learn to pay careful attention to what’s happening internally, when we notice our reactions to what’s happening externally, we are able to intentionally choose to respond more resiliently to anything potentially scary, anything at all.
This little exercise will show you how to do that:
Think about something that frightens you right now, then take a piece of paper and write down everything that you fear that might happen, think about the worst case scenarios and then make them even worse. Use your imagination. Then look at this list and estimate how likely it is that these things are going to really happen.
Then write a list with all the good things that might occur, all the best case scenarios and make them even better. Imagine them all happening and notice how that would make you feel. And then rate how likely it is that all, or any of these wonderful things can happen. If you find that none of these awesome things are likely to happen, tone them down a bit and rate again. You can do the same with the negative things you imagined, they are not very likely to happen either, how about when you tone them down and see how you feel about them then. Will you survive? Will you have a good learning experience from them? Can you get excited about that?
Of course, there are situations in which you have to react in an instant and you will do so instinctively: Fear first and look then.
But when you are in situations in which you can think rationally you can choose a different way of thinking. Prepare yourself for negative outcomes, but expect the positive ones and you will often be pleasantly surprised.
And as a by-product, you will start to anticipate positive things more and more and your vibration will rise, so you will attract more positive things.
It is like a muscle that needs to be trained and you have to keep practicing it, but hey, there are worse things to practice than anticipating positive outcomes, right?
If you have some ideas or ways to avoid fear thinking, please share them with our community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dawncady.mindsetcoach/