Going to see Friday the 13th (Part 1…yes I am old) seemed like such a good idea at the time. We teenagers arrived en masse at the local Armond Theatre, loaded up on popcorn and licorice, then sat right in the front row, ready for the thrill of the slaughter. Even before the credits rolled, we could feel the sick roil of anticipation in our guts, shrieking and giggling with the whole idea of being frightened.
I lasted until about the third loud music-ky jump out and scare you moment. The rest of my evening consisted of me sitting in the lobby, listlessly eating my popcorn, feeling unworthy and small. This was way before iPhones (or any kind of phones except the ones that plugged into the wall and had rotary dials… yes I am old) so I couldn’t even snap chat or text anyone. The others came out of the theatre two hours later, laughing hysterically and telling me I really missed a good one.
Back in those olden days I came to realize (after several long evenings in the lobby of the Armond Theatre… yes I’m old and a slow learner) that I do not like being scared. And I don’t understand why anyone would.
You’ve seen them. You know who I mean. Those crazy adrenalin junkies, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, swimming with sharks, eating poisonous fish, riding roller coasters! Why would anyone want to scare themselves like that?
As with all questions, I turned to my source for all things: Google. Surprisingly, I found that fear and excitement are two sides of the very same physiological coin. Our bodies release the same adrenalin whether we are frightened or excited. Interesting…. So if that is the case, how can we use this in our daily lives to help us?
Turns out, it’s all about the breath.
When adrenalin is released we can either hold our breath, which causes it to react in our bodies as fear, or we can breathe out instead and it magically transforms into excitement. For Example do as follows:
Inhale: NOOO RUN AWAY, DON’T MOVE, PEE YOUR PANTS, AAAAAHHHHHH
Exhale: WOOOOOOHOOOOO CANNON BALL AND KOWABUNGA!!
Seems like a no brainer to me. The next time I am faced with jumping out of an airplane, or riding a roller coaster, or I happen to run into a hobo spider in my kitchen sink, I will try to remember to exhale.
And even those small fears, the ones that stop me from speaking my truth, or from doing what is authentic to me because I fear I may be judged? I’m just going to breathe out and do them anyways. Using the momentum of thrill beats freezing with horror any day of the week.
Even if it is Friday the 13th.