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What's the difference between fear and excitement?

What’s The Difference Between Fear And Excitement?


I remember this one from years ago, when I was studying to become an NLP Trainer. I still remember how I reacted to first hearing it, too. So I invite you to bear with me on this one, before you pick up those rotten tomatoes to lob my way 😉

The difference between fear and excitement is about 2 inches.

OK, for some people it can be 5 inches, but the idea is the same.

What on earth am I talking about?

We feel every emotion at a point in our body. For most of us, we experience the physical sensation of fear and nervousness in the stomach area. Our language describes it as the ‘pit of my stomach’ or having a ‘gut instinct’ about something. And for most of us, excitement is pretty close by. We describe it as butterflies in our stomach. Many of us experience fear – and excitement – as affecting our digestive system. Since emotions are chemical reactions in our body, they are inextricably linked with our physical experience.

What's the difference between fear and excitement?

What’s the difference between fear and excitement?

The difference between the location of fear and the location of excitement is about 2-5 inches. Often (but not for everyone), fear is about 2 inches lower than excitement.

Please bear in mind that I’m talking about the kind of fear we feel when we have a big project or challenge or change to work on – the type that stops us from doing what we really want to do or say – rather than the ‘Watch out – there’s a sabre-toothed tiger over there and he’s looking hungry’ variety.

The great news is:

While our Monkey Mind is telling stories of ‘scared’ and ‘anxious’, we can shift the emotion to ‘anticipation’ and even ‘excitement’ by working with the body.

So if there’s something you want to achieve, or a dream you want to turn into reality, there’s no need to fight your Monkey Mind. instead you can play with this technique:

Use the power of your intention to move that feeling of ‘scared’ or ‘nervous’ physically into excitement.

  1. Think about something who’s want to do that you feel nervous or apprehensive about – we’re looking for a 3 out of 10 – no biggies here, and certainly no anxiety attack-scale fears! We’re just playing with the technique.
  2. Notice where in your stomach area (most likely) you feel that emotion. Take a moment to connect with the physical sensation.
  3. Then imagine you are moving it a few inches higher up your body.
  4. Notice what happens. What happens to the emotions that you feel? What happens to the thoughts you are thinking?

For most of us, this simple technique is enough to turn apprehension into anticipation. And from anticipation, it’s a much smaller step to a sense of bubbling excitement.

Moving from fear to excitement doesn’t just make us feel better – it shifts our focus away from problems and towards potential solutions. And it improves our performance at whatever that task is.

The more you play with this, the easier it becomes, until you find it’s an instinctive reaction and life becomes much less serious. It becomes more exciting, fun and playful.

Is there a situation in your life where you could play with this technique today? I’d love to hear how you get on, via the comments box!

 This article is from our Daily Sunshine emails – if you’d like a free inspirational email each weekday, register at

About the Author Clare Josa

Clare Josa sets Passionate World Changers free from Imposter Syndrome and their secret 3am fears, so they can make the difference they are really here to make in the world. She is the author of five life-changing books, including the much-loved Dare to Dream Bigger. Her sixth book and debut novel, You Take Yourself With You, has been described by readers as 'unputdownable'.

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