Anxiety is an ugly monster that rears its ugly head into our lives every now and then.
We answer emails all day long with a tugging panic attack, avoid ever saying “no” because F.O.M.O., and then right when everything’s calm, we’re frantically obsessing over “What now?”. Though some may argue that anxiety is good because you care, most of the time you’re panicking so much that some stuff gets overlooked.
So since getting rid of anxiety isn’t the easiest thing to do, as it turns out, you can manipulate your anxiety and charge it towards success with this little known trick called “anxiety reappraisal”. Experts claim that your brain doesn’t treat anxiety and excitement much differently because they’re both “aroused emotions that cause palpitations, a surge in cortisol levels and preparing the body for action”. The only difference? Anxiety is a negative emotion while excitement is positive.
Since part of our achievable 2017 resolutions includes bringing in positive vibes, we thought we’d let you in on how to make anxiety work in your favour:
Do not keep calm and carry on – This study shows that when people tell themselves to get excited, they perform better than they do when they tell themselves to calm down. “When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking of all the things that could go badly. When they’re excited, they’re thinking of all the things that could go well,” said study author Alison Wood Brooks, PhD. The state of feeling calm is a “low arousal” emotion, so it takes your brain and body a long time to shift from anxious to calm. But telling yourself you’re excited means manipulating that charged up negative energy into a positive one and tbh, your body won’t know the difference.
Try to look on the bright side – When you tell yourself that you’re excited instead of anxious, you’ll start to focus on the good things that can come out of the situation. This is waaay different and better than the “threat mindset” you find yourself in when thinking about consequences. And that’s pretty much a one-way ticket to anxiety. Instead of focusing on “What if I mess this up?”, get excited and soon enough the “opportunity mindset” will kick in and you’ll find yourself thinking of how this would work out great for you!
Set small and achievable goals – I suffer from anxiety and truth be told, most of the times I find myself setting unrealistically high expectations for myself. And as it turns out, that was never a great idea. So I’ve learned that setting goals that I can actually accomplish works best for my confidence and sense of accomplishment. Also, setting small and achievable goals will help take you farther over time, more than you can imagine. Read our article on how to do just that here.
Use more positive words – Mind-body research shows that the words you use can have a powerful effect on how you feel. Most anxiety sufferers use negative words that destroy their self-esteem and promote a sense of loss of control – can’t, always, never and should. Say if you’re running late for an appointment. Instead of thinking “I shouldn’t be late for this”, change that into “I may be late for this. It’s unfortunate, but I’ll do better next time.” You’ll find yourself feeling better about everything after. 🙂
Being excited takes practice – It’s not easy to just completely be rid of anxiety by replacing with excitement – shifting your perspective is probably one of the hardest things to do. But as with every skill you’ve learned thus far, charging anxiety into excitement takes daily practice. At the start of your day, it’s best to create a list of the day’s anxiety-inducing tasks. Once you’ve figured out how these sure-fire anxiety-inducing tasks can change your life for the better, you’re on your way to taking your life back from anxiety.
Time to take charge of anxiety and excitedly dance those bad vibes outta here, my loves.