Anxiety vs Excitement

May 17, 2012

Yesterday, after a day of anxiety, I decided to reframe my anxiety and call it excitement. And oh my, did that shift things.

I’ve been reading through “Glad No Matter What” by SARK. She writes about nudging her feelings. When things feel a bit extreme and not so good, she says “recalculating” to herself (like a GPS) and she moves the emotional needle bit by bit until she’s processed her feelings.

Anxiety runs through my chest, right at the top of my diaphragm, where my ribs split apart. Excitement usually sits lower, a rippling in my stomach. For how they sit in my body, they’re pretty much opposite sides of the same coin.

Brene Brown talks about our inability to feel “negative” emotions, our tendency to numb those difficult emotions, actually keeps us from experiencing the highs as well. Same circuits. Not to mention, joy is a vulnerable place.

“…vulnerability is still just absolutely essential. That we can’t know things like love and belonging and creativity and joy without vulnerability, but in this culture of reflexive cynicism you better also really have an understanding of shame if you’re going to put yourself out there.” (TED blog)

And what is getting married if not PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE. Like the right of passage of vulnerability.

I can be quite stoic. In cases of extreme emotions, my face stays blank, absorbing other’s issues and processing things as quickly as possible. I’ve had people yell at me, “Why don’t you smile!?” People I don’t know. In public.

It makes sense I’m having a bit of trouble untangling my panic, worry and exhaustion from my joy, excitement and anticipation when it comes to the wedding.

So, I’ve changed the tape. Instead of thinking, “I’m so stressed / overwhelmed / panicked about the wedding” I think, “I’m SO excited!” and I feel much more energized and amazing about all of the tasks I’m  working through and the challenge as a whole.

Because planning a wedding is a bitch.

“I got a lot of lovin’ / got a lot of lovin’ / got a lot of love in heart…” lissie

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