“Anxiety and excitement are basically the same chemical reaction in your body…” —“Rewiring the Anxious Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Anxiety Cycle” (YouTube)
Because of the close relationship between anxiety and excitement (as opposed to, say, anxiety and calmness) there’s good research behind the idea that reframing your pre-race anxiety as excitement is an excellent strategy for your next Big Event!
Though they have divergent effects on cognition, motivation, and performance, the physiological correlates of anxiety and excitement are remarkably similar. Both anxiety and excitement are characterized by high arousal, signaled by increased heart rate. Unlike reappraising
anxiety as calmness … reappraising anxiety as excitement requires only a cognitive change in valence because anxiety and excitement are arousal congruent. …
Taken together, I expect that reappraising anxiety as excitement, compared with reappraising anxiety as calmness, is easier and improves performance on important tasks that typically make
people very anxious.