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Amped Up Nervous System

I discovered a new layer of resistance recently.  Not only do I resist feeling the so-called negative emotions, I resist the fun ones too, like excitement, which is a form of happiness.   I haven’t known how to feel excitement as an adult.

I Wanted to Feel Calm, Cool and Collected.

Going into the Memorial Day weekend, I noticed I wasn’t sleeping well.  I was having trouble falling asleep at night and was waking up a lot.  At the time my son was preparing to be involved in a 3 day event over the holiday weekend.  When I checked with my body, I noticed a buzzy feeling in my torso which felt like anticipation.  It was annoying because I wanted to feel calm and relaxed and to sleep well and rest up for enjoying the event.

My Nervous System Felt Amped Up.

By the end of the first day of the event I was exhausted and in pain.  My lower back ached and I was having some pelvic pain.  I took it easier the second day and felt a bit better, but I was still feeling anxious and didn’t sleep well.  The last day I was okay for a few hours before the pelvic pain came on intensely.  As we left the event I had a feeling of urinary urgency and a burning pain in my crotch.  My nervous system felt amped up.  I thought I needed to calm down.  Working my trigger points, resting, and open focus meditation all helped me feel better later that evening.

I was Resisting Feeling Excitement.

After self-coaching and getting coached, I realized I was resisting feeling excitement.  I’m so used to being calm, cool and collected, that I have forgotten how to allow the feeling of excitement.  Part of me automatically suppressed it.  It feels so much like fear.  I’ve been conditioned since childhood to behave well.  Excitement can be loud and out of control, is not polite and organized, and can be disruptive.  It’s really not socially acceptable to express excitement in many situations.

Excitement is Full of Energy.

When I let myself more fully feel and connect with excitement I learned that it has a lot of energy.  It’s connected with creativity.  When I suppress it, it feels like swarm of bees in my body.  It wants to move up through my belly and out through my heart.  My body wants to move with it.  It wants to jump up and down, frolic, whoop, holler and laugh.  While I was being coached I was able to more fully physically feel and allow the feelings of excitement in my body.  I reassured myself that it was okay to feel it and it wouldn’t make my pain worse.  Since excitement, as a form of happiness, is an emotion it needs to move through the body just like anger, sadness and fear.

Practice Frolicking

So I moved with it, a week after I had suppressed the emotion.  I went into an open room in my house and I jumped up and down and whooped and laughed and skipped and danced until I was out of breath.  Then I did it again.  Now I know what excitement feels like and what to do with it.  Next time, instead of trying to remain calm, cool and collected, I’ll recognize my excitement as happiness and I’ll frolic with it.

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11 comments… add one
  • Wow. As a fellow calm, cool, collected person, I’ve never thought before about resisting excitement… but can totally resonate. The realization itself is exciting!

    • Being cool and careful so as not embarrass ourselves is not always the best policy when it comes to expressing and feeling our emotions, especially excitement. Sally, I’m glad this post resonated with you!

  • it ressonated a lot with me too!!! Sometimes I allow myself to feel hapiness and excitment and oh man, I can be very LOUD!!!!!!LOL

  • Great advice, Gail! I need to remember that my body craves movement – and need to jump into those excited moments by moving, dancing and grooving!

    • Hi Deb: It just takes recognizing what excitement feels like and then letting yourself move with it. I’m planning to be ready to move with my excitement next time it is present!

  • Gail,

    This is an awesome and brave post! I have written a lot and worked a lot on feeling through emotions lately, and what I suspect is that people (like me) who have difficulty expressing and allowing “negative” emotions because it may be “inappropriate or judged” also probably have difficulty expressing joyful emotions for the same reasons.

    I was raised to be a very good and very calm child as well. One of my top values is calmness. 🙂 However, I’m a very emotional person in all senses of the word. It usually comes out in my writing because it doesn’t come out in other ways…and that’s since I was a child.

    I notice that when my husband does something very nice for me or surprises me with something great…say theater tickets, or when he proposed or when he booked a weekend away…he always asks me over and over if I’m excited and happy about it and if I like the thing he’s given me. It makes me sad to realize that he is not seeing all the joy and excitement that I do feel at those times. I have thought, wow…what’s with me that I am so overjoyed but I can’t do anything but calmly say that?

    Now that I’m practicing feeling my “negative” emotions, I’m guessing that the spectrum will benefit. I bet that our ability to feel emotions swings in both directions. Learning to fully feel one will help with the others. It’s just a hunch. But I sure do like the idea of playing with joy and I will give it a try too.

    Nice post.

    • Dana – You are right. When we dissociate from feeling the physical sensations of so-called negative emotions, we do the the same with the good feeling ones too. We have learned to be numb. All emotions can feel overwhelming, especially when we are conditioned to be calm, cool and collected. So the more we can let ourselves feel all the emotions, the more we can welcome the feelings of the fun emotions too. Have you ever noticed that when you can let yourself feel a strong emotion and actually cry, laughter comes more easily after?

  • I have noticed something similar with me, but instead of suppressing excitement, it’s enthusiasm. Being completely enthusiastic about something is a very vulnerable situation, and I tend to shy away from it, but at the cost of feeling like I’m being kept in a cage. But it’s not doing anybody any favors — it makes me unhappy, and it deprives the people around me of getting to see my joy. Yes, I may be teased for it, as I have been in the past, but that’s no reason to hide myself under a bushel basket!

  • I resist feeling joy sometimes. It’s something I continue to work on allowing. Thanks for sharing about your experience.

  • Frolicking…I love that word! Doesn’t it sounds wonderful as it flows off of your tongue? It sounds joyous, light and fun. Cheers to you and your frolicking–dancing, wiggling, and moving with freedom!

  • Isn’t it amazing how what we think is acceptable and what isn’t, has such a big impact on our lives? I love how you checked in with your body and felt something was off. And looove how you worked on allowing the excitement to bubble up and dance like crazy in your living room 🙂


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