My office mate, who just closed on a new house, announced she had only slept two hours the previous night. 

“I have exomnia”, she declared. She described her pinging brain, working through room configurations, furniture possibilities, and happy imaginings of back deck dinner parties.

I get exomnia about happy things like this too; friends or kids visiting, vacations, and new puppy arrivals (we’re hoping for one of these in the next months!). I love looking forward to things so much that it revs me up like this.

Sometimes, however, I’m both excited AND anxious and have trouble sleeping. Things like big presentations and complicated travel days impact me like this. When this happens, I can completely lose sight of the excitement and start fixating on the anxiety!

In Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown points out that excitement and anxiety feel nearly identical.

“Similar sensations are labeled “anxiety” when we perceive them negatively and “excitement” when we perceive them positively.” (p.12)

So, sometimes we can do ourselves a favor by understanding how similar the two are and offer ourselves a reframe. Is this anxiety, excitement, or both? Is this Insomnia partly exomnia? Because when we can get into contact with the excited part of ourselves, we can help our nervous systems shift away from dread and closer to positive anticipation.

Mindset makes a difference, friends! Pivots like this can make a big difference in day to day self-care.

When have you pivoted from anxiety to excitement? From dread to positive anticipation?

Janice’s book, Restore My Soul: Reimagining Self-Care for a Sustainable Life, is available at all major booksellers.

2 Responses

  1. I’m struggling with that right now. My daughter is a middle school pastor and has been asked to deliver a message on the Lord’s prayer this weekend at her/ou rmega church (2 services). She is suffering with horrible back pain this week leading up to Sunday. I have a fear of public speaking myself so I always feel such anxiety leading up to her speaking engagements. It’s not like I’m the one who is speaking but my anxiety about public speaking really affects the rest in my soul. Why is that? I’m happy that my daughter is answering the call on her life. She always does so well when she speaks. For me, exomnia = excitement + lack of rest.

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