The only physiological difference between fear and excitement is in the exhale.
When you’re afraid, you take a sharp breath into the top part of your lungs and hold it.
When you’re delighted or excited, you take a sharp breath into the top part of your lungs and then you let it out in an “ooohhh,” an “aaahhh,” or, my personal favorite, a “wheeee!”
You can prove this to yourself right now. First, think of something scary and take rapid and shallow breaths, holding each breath before you exhale. You can make yourself anxious just by breathing this way.
Notice how the feeling of not being able to catch your breath intensifies your fear and how fear drives your breathing patterns to make you feel like you can’t catch your breath. Not exhaling fully causes a build-up of carbon dioxide that triggers or intensifies a stress response. It’s a downward spiral.
But the right kind of exhale can be an upward spiral. Let your breathing return to normal, then think of something delightful, intriguing or exciting.
Exaggerate the “ooohhh” and “aaahhh” when you exhale; aim for sounding like a crowd watching fireworks. Or try to replicate the sound you make when you’re on a water slide or roller coaster.
Breathe Out Fear
Fear is behind all forms of resistance. So the next time you’re having difficulty getting to your Product Time (aka writing time) when and how you intend, remember to breathe out.
Letting go of fear is that simple. Just breathe out. Inhale slower and deeper and vocalize the exhale. Remember what delighted you about the idea when it first came to you and continue to exhale audibly.
Catch the Wheeee Anytime
The wonderful thing about delight and excitement is that it’s never too late to embrace it. No matter how long you’ve been holding your breath, you can change that in an instant.
All it takes is “ooohhh” “aaahhh” or “wheeee!”
What are your “ooohhh” writing moments? What is it about writing that makes you go “wheeee?”