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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Remember the Exhale

Just exhale -- that's what makes all the fun bubbles!

Just exhale — that’s what makes all the fun bubbles!

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!”

Prove It

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.

You can't be afraid when you're yelling "Wheeee!"

You can’t be afraid when you’re yelling “Wheeee!”

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?”

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5 Comments on “Remember the Exhale”

  1. habbo coin generator no download 2015 April 22, 2015 at 2:49 am #

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    • rosannebane April 22, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      I’m open to guest writers. What would you like to write about?


  2. Genevieve October 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Hey there! I’ve been following your web site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood
    Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!


    • rosannebane October 31, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      Well, “Hey” yourself Genevieve and thanks for following my blog. What are you working on in your writing life.


  3. Joel D Canfield August 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    I have long searched for Don Norman’s “affordances”, the physical things which make the *right* thing the *easy* thing.

    To change fear to excitement by how we exhale: it affords happiness, peace, creation.

    This is good stuff indeed.


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