Community//

The Fine Line Between Anxiety and Excitement

Living in Your Passion Without Fearing Disappointment

Take a moment to see if you can tune into the energy of excitement. Where do you feel it? What is the intensity like? How would you describe the experience?

Now tune in to the energy of anxiety? Ask yourself those questions again. Do you notice any similarities?

I find that there is a very fine line between feeling excitement and feeling anxiety. I am wondering if discerning the difference has to do with our interpretation of the emotional energy ~ the thoughts that might be related ~ and perhaps, the fear that we may become overwhelmed by it all.

If you think about it, excitement and anxiety are two emotional states that are often characterized by high intensity and powerful feelings.

When we are in these states, it is common to experience a sense of overwhelm.

Are you afraid to feel the full impact of excitement?

But What if I’m Disappointed?

I can recall many times in my life when I was aware of a building sense of excitement or anticipation for an upcoming event. It could be anything I was looking forward to ~ an event ~ a special time with someone I loved ~ a celebration ~ an achievement.

Most of the time, I have been able to enjoy my experience of excitement in the moment. I notice this has developed over time and with age. I very rarely hear myself saying, “I can’t wait!” anymore.

And that might well be the tipping point right there. The feeling of impatience could indicate that there is something else going on beneath the surface that threatens to turn our excitement into anxiety and transform our joy into dread.

Attachment. Attachment and Expectation.

I have discovered that the more I anticipated and then attached myself to a certain outcome for any experience I was looking forward to, the more likely it would be that my excitement would turn into anxiety ~ or at least, vacillate between the two states.

It is the fear that our expectations will not be met and that we will ultimately find ourselves in a sea of disappointment that strangles the joy out of our excitement.

Have you caught yourself thinking that you are better off not getting “too excited” because then you won’t be as disappointed if something falls through or doesn’t live up to your expectations?

I know I have been in that state more than once. I realized a long time ago, that once I found myself in that state, I was already past the point of no return anyway. Telling myself that I was in control of my excitement which in turn would control any sense of disappointment that might occur was just my mind’s way of trying to…well, control the situation.

It simply doesn’t work to tell ourselves not to feel excited when we already do. And it is counterproductive to even go there. Excitement is a wonderful feeling when we can just enjoy the energy and have fun with the sensation as opposed to attaching a multitude of interpretations and outcomes to the experience.

The Set Up

At times, this occurs when we start imagining the responses of other people involved. We have an image in our minds that includes the joy and excitement of other people ~ that they will show up open-minded and open-hearted and ready to engage with us in ways that make us feel good.

Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Does that have to suck the joy out of our experience?

We may also set ourselves up to feel a certain way in this scenario we are so excited about and then once it arrives, we suddenly find ourselves in an emotional state that we didn’t anticipate. And this shift in our internal landscape alters the energy of excitement and we find ourselves disconnected from the very experience we had been anticipating with so much joy. It’s almost like we burn out before the big event.

It is possible that we expect a certain outcome to be part of the deal. We are excited about an opportunity partly because we see it leading to some form of success. And sometimes, that doesn’t happen ~ or may not happen right away. We had been banking on this event to create some substantial shift in our reality, but we wake up the next morning in the same old life.

So, what’s up with that? Is it better to just not let ourselves feel the excitement?

Of course not.

Navigate The Dance

To me, the key is about staying in the moment with our emotional energy. Feel the sensation of excitement when it comes up without creating a full-blown story about it.

If you notice that you suddenly start to feel a sense of anxiety, observe your sensations and take a moment to look into your thought process and belief systems to see if an internal dialogue has started to rain on your parade.

This is also a perfect opportunity for Powerful Guiding Questions. See if you can direct that dialogue by showing up with curiosity and compassion for yourself.

And then return to the enjoyment of your excitement as it arises in the moment.

You are already all in. There is no mind game that is going to lessen the blow beforehand if things don’t turn out. Your best bet is to be in joy, ride the wave of excitement, and bring that enthusiasm into your experience come hell or high water.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.