An effective way to challenge your anxiety is to reframe your thinking, Inc.com writes.
Research conducted by Alison Wood Brooks, a Harvard Business School professor, suggests that telling yourself to calm down or relax is counterproductive and does not alleviate the anxiety.
Brooks researched “anxiety reappraisal,” which is a theory that focuses on reframing anxiety-related emotions into something positive. Participants in her study completed a variety of tasks ranging from karaoke, public speaking, and difficult math with a time limit.
Prior to beginning the tasks, participants were told to say, “I am anxious,” “I am excited,” or nothing.
Her findings, published in a 2014 study, suggest that those who said, “I am excited,” performed better than those who said, “I am anxious” or nothing.
Symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, did not go away for the participants who said, “I am excited.” Instead, they were translated into positive emotions such as excitement and enthusiasm.
Remember this approach the next time you are anxious. Instead of telling yourself to calm down or relax, take a more positive approach with these three words: I am excited.