A study on anxiety-inducing activities like public speaking finds that the intuitive response–consciously trying to calm down–isn’t the best strategy.
Instead, people instructed to say to themselves, “I am excited” before a stressful ordeal, performed better.
Changing the label on those feelings from ‘anxiety’ to ‘excitement’ helps create a shift towards a more positive emotional state.
Alison Brooks explains:
“When you feel anxious, you’re ruminating too much and focusing on potential threats. In those circumstances, people should try to focus on the potential opportunities. It really does pay to be positive, and people should say they are excited. Even if they don’t believe it at first, saying ‘I’m excited’ out loud increases authentic feelings of excitement.”
Brooks concludes her paper by pointing out that her experiments…
“…demonstrate the profound control and influence we have over our own emotions. The way we verbalize and think about our feelings helps to construct the way we actually feel. […] Instead of trying to “Keep Calm and Carry On,” perhaps the path to success begins by simply saying “I am excited.”\”