When anxiety hits, those of us who have experienced it in its various forms may feel an array of things: a racing heart, hot and cold flushes, tightening of the chest, excessive fear, tension, and restlessness. And while there are myriad ways of finding support and treating anxiety (trust us when we say that your doctor knows a thing or two about anxiety conditions), new research suggests that three simple words may make all the difference when you’re feeling frazzled.
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers investigated whether trying to calm someone when they were feeling anxious was, in fact, doing as much good as it was believed to be. From the study, the researchers found that channelling the anxious energy to deal with the exact thing you’re feeling nervous about is the key to overcoming it. And this comes down to repeating one three-word mantra. As reported by Stylist, the three words are, “I AM EXCITED.”
“I find that an overwhelming majority of people believe trying to calm down is the best way to cope with pre-performance anxiety,”Alison Wood Brooks, author of the study, explains. “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.”
It’s worth noting that during this study, this mantra was measured against performance anxiety — so, getting anxious or nervous about, say, public speaking or having a confrontational conversation with someone — something that involves using plenty of energy.
The idea is that these three words will help you embrace the task at hand, turning fear into excitement. This is something that isn’t applicable to feeling anxious at night, as this is a period when you should be resting, not running on excitement.
Anxiety is something that is being more and more talked about in American culture. On average, one in four people will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point, and another 25 percent of the population will experience less severe symptoms.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious before a big meeting or presentation, why not give these words a try? And if you’re going through something that requires a different approach, check out these tricks for reducing stress and stopping anxiety in its tracks.
This article was originally written by Ellie Mcdonald. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.