By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Scared or Excited.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com
What is the difference between scared and excited?
Some people live their whole lives in fear. Everything is scary when you live in fear. Being afraid doesn’t make something dangerous but dangerous things ought to scare us. So how come there are those people who seek out the things other people call scary?
People in recovery often are overwhelmed by fear of the changes that need to be made. Fear can be a trigger to take someone back to the old patterns of behavior. That very same person who is afraid of the challenges of recovery may have been constantly seeking excitement via drugs or mania before they began recovery.
What makes some of us attracted to risk and excitement? One theory is that people range between two extremes, scared-anxious and stimulation seeking. As new-born babies some kids are easily overstimulated and need to take breaks and others are constantly seeking more stimulation.
Anxiety and stimulation are considered basic personality traits by some in the psychological professions. So the anxious person sees a situation as scary and a stimulus-seeking person thinks of the very same event as exciting.
Our appetite for risk and excitement can also be learned. We learn from our own experiences and we also learn from watching those around us. What is learned can be unlearned. If you are afraid of a change could you come to view the possibilities of a new life course with excitement?
Transforming fear into excitement is possible.
Consider the case of two clients.
First client, Betty, is 18 about to leave home and head off for college. She is scared to death. She will be leaving her family and friends. She has never been particularly close to her family and does not have many friends but she is terrified that at the new school she will know no one and thinks that they are likely to not like her. Betty is not sure she can do this and wishes she had not let her school counselor talk her into applying to an out-of-town school. What if she fails? She is sure something will go wrong and there will be no one at the school to help her. She is afraid. To cope with her fear she may drink, use drugs, or withdraw and hide in her room.
Client number two, Maria, attends the same high school as Betty, though the two don’t seem to know each other. Maria is also 18 and graduating. She likewise is about to leave home for a cross-country college. The difference is that Maria is excited to be on the go. She looks forward to the new things she will learn and the people she will meet. Maria has high self-esteem, she feels good about herself. She also has high self-efficacy; she knows she can do something if she sets her mind to it. Maria will be the first in her family to attend college and she is proud of what she will be accomplishing.
The primary difference between these two students is not the situation. Both are academically well-prepared students accepted to an out-of-town college.
The real difference between the two students is the way in which they view change. Yes, there are underlying differences in temperament and in the emotional skills they have learned, but either could be taught to see the situation from the other perspective.
As parents, we sometimes need to teach our children to be fearful to avoid excessive danger. They or we grow up and discover that our fears are keeping us trapped. Changing your perspective from fear to excitement can alter the whole experience. Changing your view can move something new from the scary categories to the exciting group.
Performers, actors, comics, and singers often get “butterflies” before they go on stage. They can interpret those symptoms as stage fright or they can think of this as the energy that sends them, to put out their best performance yet.
Athletes try to psych themselves up before a game or match. They transform that nervous energy which could be fear and keep them on the sidelines into the excitement that carries them to their best possible performance.
Is there something in your life that scares you which you need to start thinking of as an exciting new possibility?
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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