Anxiety: Getting Excited Beats Trying to Calm Down

Posted on January 7, 2014

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.

In one experiment 140 participants were told to prepare a public speech. Before delivering it, half were told to say to themselves “I am excited” and the other half “I am calm”.

The speeches were videotaped and analysed by independent raters, who found that those who’d said “I am excited” consistently performed better than those who’d told themselves “I am calm”.

‘Excited’ people were more persuasive, competent, confident and persistent. Plus, they spoke for longer–presumably because they were enjoying it more.

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Source material from Psy BLog

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