The other day I read an article that proposed a new vocabulary word – newfeeling – to describe the stomach butterflies, jangly nerves, and other manifestations of adrenaline that most of us feel when facing unfamiliar and challenging situations.

The author, Marty Wilson, argues that it’s good for us to spend time outside our comfort zone on a regular basis; it helps us to grow, and enlarges the amount of life we’re able to be comfortable with.

But most of the words we apply to the bodily sensations that accompany such challenges (fear, nerves, anxiety) have pretty negative connotations. He thought a term that’s neutral, or even positive, could help us reframe how we meet these new experiences.

I tend to have a fairly high level of anxiety in the course of daily life, so I was quite interested in this concept. This coming fall, I’m going to India for the first time – a place that’s way outside my comfort zone. I’m mainly excited about the trip right now, but expect the jittery stomach thing to rev up as it gets closer. Any way of putting a positive spin on the pre-trip adrenaline, even if it’s keeping me up at night, sounds good to me.

So butterflies, knots in the stomach? Newfeeling! A sign that I’m stretching myself. Instead of being a sign that something is wrong, it’s a sign that something is right.

(Interested in the subject of fear? Check out Fearless, a free online magazine. The June issue is where I first ran across Marty Wilson.)