Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

These 3 words could be key to managing your anxiety

kimmy.jpg

Anxiety is being spoken about more than ever. With the coining of the term  high-functioning anxiety to describe millennial stress and the news that 8 million people are suffering from anxiety disorders in the UK, it can all feel a bit doom and gloom.

It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between having an anxiety disorder and feeling anxious, which can be a part of normal part of life. Most of us will occasionally feel extremely nervous – for example, when preparing for a job interview or before a big presentation at work. In these situations, it’s normal to feel your anxiety levels rise, as well as some of the symptoms associated with an anxiety disorder, such as nauseousness, dizziness or difficulty concentrating.


Read more: Anxious? Stylist explores the paralysing effects of anxiety in the modern world, and how to conquer it


But although it’s important to be aware of the facts surrounding anxiety and how it might affect us, we think it’s fair to say that some good news would be welcome right about now.

Cue new research that explores how we can turn our negative anxious energy into something positive.

Anxiety

Smiling in the face of anxiety

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, investigates the theory that trying to calm anxiety can actually be counterproductive, because it stunts what might be useful energy.

If approached in the right way, researchers believe that we could harness that nervous energy to help us deal with the very thing we’re nervous about.

Researchers recommend repeating the mantra “I am excited” to help you embrace the task in hard, instead of trying to detach from it.

Alison Wood Brooks, author of the study, Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement, explains that she used situations loaded with anticipation to test her theory, such as “karaoke singing, public speaking, and math performance”.


Watch: What not to say to an anxiety sufferer 


She reports: “I find that an overwhelming majority of people believe trying to calm down is the best way to cope with pre-performance anxiety.”

“I investigate an alternative strategy: reappraising anxiety as excitement. Compared to those who attempt to calm down, individuals who reappraise their anxious arousal as excitement feel more excited and perform better.”

Brooks encourages sufferers to repeat affirming mantras about being excited to themselves out loud in a bid to convince their minds that the upcoming situation is positive.

However, it’s worth noting that this method will only work if you’re feeling anxious about actively doing something that uses a lot of energy.

The research was conducted specifically into performance anxiety, meaning that it wouldn’t be suited to beating night-time anxiety for example, where you do need to relax.

If you suffer from anxiety, experts advise that you visit you GP to explore the number of treatments available.

You can find out more information – including a series of approved self-care tips – on the Mind website.

Images: iStock / Netflix 

Related

tired.jpg

3 signs that you're suffering from stress-induced burnout

Anxiety (2).jpg

12 ways to tackle anxiety at your desk in under 10 minutes

Anxiety.jpg

What is high-functioning anxiety – and are you suffering from it?

More

The Netflix shows you’re most likely to devour in 24 hours

You, my friend, are a ‘binge racer’

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

There’s a psychological reason you’re in love with Starbucks’ red cups

It’s not just because Christmas is coming

by Gemma Crisp
18 Oct 2017

Have a wonderfully macabre Christmas with this anti-advent calendar

Bah humbug

by Megan Murray
18 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson says this is the next big food trend

Will this steal avocado’s crown?

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

Men are supporting the #MeToo campaign by tweeting #HowIWillChange

“Guys, it’s our turn.”

by Moya Crockett
18 Oct 2017

The new sanitary towel advert finally showing RED period blood

Because what runs down your leg in the shower ain’t blue

by Amy Swales
18 Oct 2017

“France banning wolf-whistling is a good start – but it’s not enough”

We can’t kid ourselves that this kind of gesture will change women’s lives.

by Moya Crockett
18 Oct 2017

The UK's first permanent avocado restaurant is coming to London

It’s everything we avo wanted

by Megan Murray
18 Oct 2017

We really need to talk about what happened on Bake Off

We’re going to need a moment to process this

by Amy Swales
18 Oct 2017

Get free tickets to see Call Me By Your Name

17 Oct 2017