How to change anxiety into excitement

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I agree, kind of. I think it more demonstrates that emotions are really neither positing not negating anything - they simply are.

The last time I went on a zip line I was scared shitless. I told myself all kind of goofy crap and still ended up having my kid give me a shove off the platform. Despite my brain understanding how safe it was my ass was starting to grow roots on the platform. Four lines Four shoves…I loved it but some part of my lizard brain would not let go of a good solid perch. Always before I was able to be seated in the sling before letting go…this one required jumping off the platform to cross…couldn’t do it.


This maps very closely to what I’ve read about sports psychology. They had less internal critique, but the methods were identical.

How to change anxiety into excitement

I use coffee, and often.


Good to see professor Robertson again. The last - and only - time I met him was in Amsterdam, at the presentation of the Dutch version of his book The Winner Effect, which I translated. I take some pride in his being perplexed by my near-native English accent.


This is basically the same as Richard Lazarus’ theory on cognitive appraisals and how thoughts can alter moods and vice-versa.

Of course every situation is unique but I think it is well documented that one can use stress as a positive motivator by putting yourself into the right mindset. These are textbook examples of coping methods for dealing with stressful situations.

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For more insights on this topis, see The Upside of Stress, by Stanford psychologist, Kelly McGonigal.

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I had the opposite problem in my twenties. How to keep anxiety from turning into (premature) excitement.


Fun fact: Anxiety and excitement are the same word in Japanese.


I’ve suffered from anxiety attacks for over 40 years now, so I’m very familiar with this technique. If you suffer from simple fear, it’s really great for changing your experience. If you suffer from what anxiety actually is, well, the situation is a bit more complex.

What’s the difference between fear and anxiety?

Imagine you’re hiking down a trail and suddenly a grizzly bear appears in front of you. At that point, what’s you’re feeling is probably fear.

Now, imagine that you’re at home eating dinner. Suddenly you feel as though a grizzly bear has just appeared in front of you. You’re nowhere near the woods, there are no dangerous animals within hundreds of miles, and in fact there is no objectively identifiable threat visible. But you still have the physical experience of being terrified. That is anxiety.

I sincerely hope you never develop a visceral understanding of what I’ve described. If you do, my advice is to find a good behavioral therapist. Real treatment for anxiety isn’t a trick, and it takes time and effort. But you can be helped, even without medication.


Then you feed the grizzly bear the person telling to turn this into a positive experience?


This is kind of what I was thinking about as I watched the video.

“I am excited to be trapped on this bus! I am excited to feel like I’m going to go crazy or die!”

But for real, a severe anxiety disorder in my 30s makes me skeptical about this simple approach.


When you’re in bed trying to go to sleep, neither anxiety nor excitement is very useful.


I find it hard to convince myself that I’m excited for days or weeks at a time. But if I ever have anxiety about some kind of… you know, actual thing… instead of just pervasive low-level dread, seems like it could be useful.


Robertson tells her to that she can change that negative emotion into one that’s positive by telling yourself “I feel excited.”


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As with most well-intended psychological advice, there’s a fine line between “this helped me, maybe it will help you” and “I don’t see the point of that wheelchair; I find it so much easier to just use my legs”.


Same kanji, same pronunciation and all? Interesting. Need to interview a half-japanese friend what this means to her.

How does this work if the thing you are anxious about isn’t fun, and is definitely going to get you in the end?


It’s an adorable onomatopoeia, at which the Japanese excel: doki-doki, the sound of a racing heart. I’ve only seen it in katakana.