I had a pretty big meeting scheduled for that morning. It was one of those meetings where a lot was riding on it. I had packed up my work bag the night before, and was feeling prepared. But on the way to the meeting, I could detect a different nagging feeling that would not go away.
I was feeling anxious.
And, as I dwelt in the feeling of anxiousness, I noticed my thoughts traveling down a path of self doubt. What if things don’t go the way I want? What if I get tongue tied? What if they say no? What if the whole thing gets derailed? What if….
Wood’s research suggests that actively re-naming feeling anxious to feeling excited will help develop an opportunity mindset versus a mindset that seeks to protect (threat). Sounds simple enough, right?
As I drove to my meeting I decided to try it!
I moved from saying, “I feel anxious,” to “I feel excited!”
Yes, I said it out loud. In my car. To myself.
At first it made me laugh (which is already better than sweating from feeling anxious!).
As I sat in this re-named feeling of excitement, I noticed my mind racing to explore the possibilities. I leaned into the years of preparation, the planning. I imagined the conversation and the engagement in the topic. I considered the possible next steps, and plans. I also sensed a new feeling of curiosity filtering in with the excitement. I could feel my heart racing, this time in anticipation verses dread.
To see another fun application of this strategy (spoiler alert: it involves Karaoke), check out this short video.
Recognizing feelings and emotions gives you important information as you blend thinking and feelings to make the best possible decisions. Naming and Re-Naming is a strategy to help you navigate the emotion to the best possible outcome.
So go ahead! The next time you are feeling anxious, try re-naming your feeling to excitement and see what happens!
Kelli is a Chicago-based consultant and coach helping individuals and organizations grow in emotional intelligence. With a natural curiosity for how people think and feel, she enjoys helping others increase self-awareness, build greater connections, and experience a healthier sense of well-being, in order to take positive steps forward.
In addition to being a wife and a mom of two young adults, she is also a certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Preferred Partner with Six Seconds, Certified EQ Assessor and Practitioner, an EQ Area Network Leader with Six Seconds, a Panelist with the Six Seconds EQ Community Forum, and a regular contributor with 30Seconds.com.
Kelli’s combined experience working as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives her a unique coaching platform.