I’ve heard it said that anxiety and excitement are ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ versions of the same emotion, and have the same symptoms accordingly. I agree with this concept and I have tried reframing my anxious feelings as excitement, but I find it difficult. My mind starts thinking, ‘What am I excited about?’ and I can’t always find a reason to be excited about my current situation. This brings on more anxious feelings!
Instead, I have recently tried to reframe anxiety as anticipation. I find this much more effective because anticipation is a ‘neutral’ emotion that encompasses both anxiety and excitement.
As I wrote about in my post about Anticipatory Anxiety, very often it is the anticipation of something happening that induces anxiety, more so than the actual event itself (which very often goes well or does not even happen). So by actually thinking of anxiety as anticipation, it neutralises the feeling.
When I start to feel the symptoms of anxiety, I tell myself, ‘I’m feeling a touch of anticipation here’. Somehow, that gives my mind a believable and non-threatening explanation for my symptoms, which helps to relieve them.
I encourage you to try this if you are ever feeling anxious. I’d love to know if it works for you – let me know in the comments!