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A Blank Page

What do you see when faced with a blank page...?

I have worked in education for over 20 years and my students have always been apprehensive of a blank page - there are mixed emotions when a new topic, essay or project begins. There is the excitement of newness, starting afresh and beginning again. But there is also the nervousness of an empty space; longing, looming, taunting almost, to be filled with the best ideas, the right answers and the highest achievements.

It is interesting that the body cannot tell the difference between excitement and anxiety - both create the same chemical reactions and physical sensations in the body. However, it is the mindset, the framing of the circumstance we find ourselves in - our viewpoint, our perspective that allows us to see either the positive or the negative. Take for example the physical sensation of butterflies in your stomach. This happens to me when I am excited about something, like my birthday or when I launched my book. But it is also this feeling that I interpret as nerves before a big speaking engagement, or when I was younger sitting my music exams. You'll notice I use the word 'interpret' here - and this is the key. How you see something and interpret it can make a world of difference.

Now, I am not advocating we get excited about everything in life, that would be exhausting! But I am suggesting that we notice the similarities and reframe our experiences when needed. Our hearts race when faced with someone we love, but similarly when confronting a phobia. When can get sweaty palms when we are about to do something new - such as paddle boarding in my case, and also before taking a test. Two people can experience the same physical sensations when riding a rollercoaster, they are both trembling - one with exhilaration and one with fear!

There is a lot of science behind reframing and altering the way we lo