“I AM EXCITED”! Did you know that by replacing your anxiety with excitement, you can actually perform better---no matter the task? According to Allison Woods Brooks, Assistant Professor Harvard Business School, “When people reappraised their anxiety as excitement, they actually gave better public speeches, they sang better in our karaoke lounge and they did better on math tests.” Anxiety and excitement are practically twins with very similar physical sensations, elevated heart rate, stomach butterflies and nervousness.” The difference between excitement and anxiety lies in our interpretation of them. We associate excitement with positive feelings, but we think of anxiety as an overwhelmingly negative emotion that’s at times debilitating.” (Aytekin Tank).
It’s actually easier to go from anxiety to excitement than it is from anxiety to feeling calm. Again, this is because both anxiety and excitement are on the same physiological level, therefore your brain just needs to step in and reinterpret the way you think and feel about the situation.
Time to try it, what situations make you feel anxious? Is it public speaking, meeting new people, going on a roller coaster, trying a new food, performing on a stage, the first day of school, work, exams or attending a party—to name a few? Regardless of your stressful situation, when your anxiety starts to kick in say “I feel excited” or get excited. Simple enough, yet Brook’s study found that these three words have made people less anxious, more optimistic and more resilient in the face of stressful situations.
At A Little Counseling, we practice replacing anxiety with excitement often with our clients. It’s cool to see that such a simple technique is backed by research and improves coping. I love it! If you or your child are suffering from anxiety, give us a call. Oh and we have a karaoke machine-just saying!