What brings more excitement to everyone’s ordinary life than the anticipation of the weekend? Wahoo! Some freedom!
Maybe that’s how you feel when Friday arrives. But for some of us, the weekend can bring about anxiety. You know you are going to be asked to go out and enjoy drinks, meals and/or activities that you don’t have money to participate. Maybe the surmounting to-do list is totally overwhelming. Perhaps you agreed to host a group of family or friends at your house and the tasks that need to be done before their arrival are causing stress and panic attacks.
The reality is that on the emotional scale excitement and anxiety are right next to each other. They are both derived from an uncertain outcome, the unknown. And if you really think about it they really do feel almost exactly the same in a physical way too.
Obviously one is positive and the other is negative. And while some times it is an intuitive feeling that should be honored (and you must learn to be able to tell the difference), most often anxiety is misinterpreted excitement. Instead of being unsure and fearful of the unknown, what if you decided it was going to turn out great? And this whole experience was a wonderful adventure that would lead you to a positive ending?
I know this sounds super Pollyanna like. Some of you right now are thinking that this seems really easy to say, but super hard to do. And no doubt some of you think I’m just nuts, because what kind of “organic” have I been eating that I’m going to try and convince you that nearly all feelings of anxiety can be adjusted to a more proper feeling of excitement?
Well I might be a little nuts but it’s all natural, friends. No need to ingest anything.
Remember how I said they are right next to each other on the emotional scale, and literally basically feel the same? This can work in your favor. Because the feelings are so similar, it’s actually only a few breaths and a little imagination away from being excitement instead of anxiety. Positive instead of negative. A joy instead of a dread.
When that nervous feeling comes up in your stomach or your heart, you mind starts racing and your chest gets tighter from the thoughts of anxiety about whatever your situation; acknowledge them. Put the brakes on the hamster wheel of torment taking place in your brain right now. Say, “I know how you are feeling. There’s too much to do, not enough time, not enough money, everyone will be disappointed and probably end up hating me forever.” There does it feel just a bit better to just go with the anxious train of thought?
Now close your eyes, and literally take five slow breaths. Monitor the inhale and exhale. Suggest to yourself, “What if no one cares I didn’t do this perfectly or even notices? And I can just be excited that I get to have all my favorite people here together.” How does that feel? Think about the joy, happiness, and love it brings up in you imaging everyone being together and having a great time.
Fearful that you are going to be asked to do things that you just don’t have the budget for, and you really want to, but you know it would be irresponsible if you did? Not to mention how embarrassing it will be to say you can’t go because of money? Take a minute and again, acknowledge and run with anxious thought out to the end of the cliff. Then close your eyes, take some deep breaths and observe them. Plant the thought, “Being limited in budget doesn’t have to damning. Let’s make this an opportunity to see who can come up with the most fun thing to do that doesn’t cost a dime. Come up with an activity that will really help us connect and appreciate each other.” So maybe you pick someone’s house where you can have a little fire and everyone brings something to share. Maybe you take the kids to the beach or the park, and grab a cheap kite at the dollar store. Maybe this is really an opportunity to have a true experience rather than be distracted by some sociological norm of how to spend the weekend?
My point to all of this is that literally excitement and anxiety are next to each other on a scale. It’s a thin line of consciousness that takes that same pent-up energy, even the physiological reactions, from a negative to a positive experience. No thought, experience, or moment needs to be acted out in dread. Make the choice to be conscious of what comes up and set the intention to make the shift.
Now go live this weekend! Enjoy.