If you’re feeling ALL the nerves about something, keep reading for one simple trick to stop a runaway mental train and transform the anxiety into more positive, peaceful emotions. I use this anytime I feel revved up, anxious, or overwhelmingly excited about something but want to bring myself back into feeling calm, centered, and in my power. ✨
P.S. Prefer to Listen? Check out Episode 31 of the Bright Life Podcast: How to Feel Less Anxious & More Pumped Up For Something New.
Ways to Feel Less Anxiety (More Excitement)
When I was younger, I used to experience anxiety. Even as a high schooler, I experienced anxiety attacks and had to learn how to channel that anxiety into a more positive emotional state. I’m happy to report that it IS possible—that it’s now been decades since I’ve had anxiety attacks, even with constant traveling, running businesses, writing books, and otherwise stressful situations!
Here are a few things that help me in the hopes they can support you, too!
You Can Only Experience One Emotion at a Time
Have you ever felt like your mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, each vying for your attention? Here’s something that helps me: remember that only one thought or emotion can hold the spotlight at any given time.
When anxiety creeps in, try to return to gratitude. Gratitude is like an antidote to anxiety; it’s a mental switch that calms your nervous system. It’s extremely hard to feel the calmness of gratitude and the frenzy of anxiety at the exact same time.
Try this simple experiment: think about something that makes you anxious or revved up, and then shift your focus to something you’re genuinely grateful for. Feel the difference? Gratitude has a way of spiraling into more gratitude, creating a positive loop that can transform your mindset.
Imagine a real-life situation: you’re about to step into an interview room, heart racing, palms sweaty. Instead of dwelling on your nervousness, remind yourself of the incredible opportunity you have—an opportunity that not everyone gets. Consider the privilege of education, the ability to learn, and the platform you’ve been given. These thoughts pave the way for gratitude, easing the grip of anxiety and paving the way for excitement instead.
Embrace the Present Moment
If gratitude feels hard to reach, don’t worry. There’s another tool in your toolkit: presence. Eckhart Tolle calls this the Power of Now. Anxiety is a future-based emotion. By returning to the present moment, you can release the grip of anxiety and realize that, at least right now, all is OK.
If this sounds easier said than done, try centering yourself by engaging your senses. What can you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch right now? Take a few moments to really slow down, immersing yourself in the present moment to break free from the cycle of anxious anticipation and reestablish your connection to reality.
Or, for our real-world scenario above, imagine you’re waiting to be called into that intimidating interview room. Instead of running through potential scenarios, take a deep breath and focus on the sensation of the chair beneath you. Notice the sounds around you, the rhythm of your breath, the feel of the fabric against your skin. This sensory journey grounds you in the now and extinguishes the flames of anxiety.
When faced with the intersection of excitement and anxiety, remember that you have the power to guide your emotions. While it may feel tough to shut down anxiety, shift your focus instead to gratitude and the present moment, and watch the tides of anxiety naturally recede. By training your mind to seek out the positive, you can transform nervous energy into positive anticipation.
The next time you find yourself standing on the brink of something new, take a deep breath and lean into the power of gratitude and presence. Let these tools guide you toward a state of calm excitement, ready to embrace whatever comes your way.
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