Jumping Off A Bridge: Anxiety or Excitement

Winter is here! After a few weeks of flirting between hot and cold temperatures, a white blanket finally covers the Albertan earth and it looks like it here to stay. But let’s flashback a couple months ago- I’m in a mountainous paradise known as British Columbia.

Not only that, but I’m sat on the left side of a two person tube that’s gently floating down a beautiful teal river, surrounded by pine trees that not only fill up the scenery, but give life to the immense peaks that rest behind them.

Needless to say, it’s pretty relaxing.

Up ahead there’s a bridge, one where our local tour guide and good friend says is a fantastic place to jump off. After gliding to shore, we mosey up towards the bridge and make our way to the middle. And instantly, the calm relaxation is replaced by intrepid anticipation and adrenaline. I try to decipher whether I’m anxious or excited but the pure exhilaration from the impending jump makes it impossible to tell, so I embrace it before tossing any thought aside and plunge down deep into the river below.

Like anyone jumping into water anywhere, as soon as splash I swim upwards as fast as I can to escape the water burying me.

As soon as my head breaks the top, I exhale quickly in order refill my lungs with air. And just like that, the post-glow of anything exhilarating sets in and the only thing found on my face is a smile.

I replay the scene in my head, and all the thoughts that came with it. I’m struck by the feelings I had, and how the nervous excitement was overwhelming.

Nervous excitement.

What an intriguing, and entirely true sentiment that I’ve come to embrace with open arms. One of many caveats in life is that each and every one of us will have moments where we are nervous. On the same token, we will inevitably be placed in situations that also make us excited. The point is- it’s utterly astounding how closely related these two traits are.

Think of a time where you were boiling with excitement. This could be from anything from an upcoming vacation to a roller coaster ride- being excited is fun, at least for me. During this time you probably had butterflies in your stomach, your heart started beating faster, and you might’ve felt more alert and energized. All one-hundred-percent normal things to feel when you’re stoked about something upcoming.

Now think of a time when you were anxious or nervous about something. Whether from a presentation, performance, or a looming deadline, everyone has felt those ‘uncomfortable’ feelings of anxiety. They’re a part of life, and for thousands of years were the very mechanism that enabled us to survive in a primitive world where virtually anything had the potential to kill us. The fortunate reality is that these instincts are no longer necessary (unless sabre-tooth tigers make a wild comeback, which I don’t see happening), yet we still possess them and many other things passed on from generation to generation. When you’re nervous, you probably have butterflies in our stomach. There’s a good chance your heart rate increased. And your alertness probably made it feel harder to sit still or appear calm.

Sound a little familiar? The crazy thing is that these two emotions are so close in identity they are becoming linked in helping people overcome the harder one by utilizing the fun one. Excitement can be your friend, and training your mind to wrap your anxieties in a bow of exhilaration is very real, very accessible possibility.

Simple affirmations corroborate with almost everything else I’ve written, this topic is no different. Giving positive self-talk to guide yourself through these emotions might seem silly, but ‘speaking’ things into existence is a very real concept in the mind. Self-affirmations can be as simple as repeating “I’m excited” over and over again, as well as a baby step to allowing your mind to see it in an alternative way. Eventually, feeding yourself heaps of positivity can become effortless as it becomes second nature by way of habit.

This is only a small piece to a beautiful mosaic that is the puzzle of the human mind, specifically anxieties.

I don’t know about you, but an opportunity to change that sounds pretty exciting to me.


Leave me a comment below on your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

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