Psychology Student Reveals Simple Way To Trick Your Mind Into Thinking You’re Not Nervous Anymore
A psychology student has revealed how you can trick your mind into thinking you’re not nervous anymore using just three words.
Mollie Trainor, a TikToker who is currently doing a masters degree in psychology, explained the concept in a recent video.
Also known as anxious reappraisal, the method tricks your mind into reframing your anxiety as excitement.
‘If you have pre-performance anxiety for something coming up, maybe you’re nervous for a presentation or something, you can trick yourself into thinking you’re excited rather than nervous by just saying out loud to yourself “I am excited”,’ she says in the video.
The reason for this, she explains, is because excitement and nervousness are both ‘high arousal’ states.
‘Physiologically, what’s happening to you between the two of them is pretty similar. So it’s easy to get your brain to reinterpret those signals as excitement rather than nervousness,’ she says.
This works better than just telling yourself to ‘calm down’ because calmness is a ‘low arousal’ state, she adds.
The TikToker said she truly didn’t believe it until she tried it herself and it worked.
‘The first thing you learn in psych is that humans are both more and less complicated than you’d think,’ she wrote.
One 2013 study, carried out by a student at Harvard Business School tested the theory in a number of anxiety-inducing situations.
‘Whereas anxiety is a negative, aversive emotion that harms performance, excitement is a positive, pleasant emotion that can improve performance,’ the study’s author, Alison Brooks wrote.
Anticipating the negative consequences of feeling anxious, many individuals attempt to down-regulate anxiety by trying to calm down. But decreasing anxious feelings is difficult because high arousal is automatic, and suppressing or hiding anxiety is often ineffective.
Unlike anxious versus calm feelings, which differ in high versus low arousal, anxiety and excitement are arousal congruent, and minimal interventions may be sufficient to produce feelings of excitement.
Her findings showed that in most study participants, reframing anxiety as excitement was more effective than trying to calm down. She found that this reframing actually improved participants’ performance in situations like public speaking, singing and performing math tasks.
Over on TikTok, Mollie clarified that this only works for pre-performance anxiety and isn’t intended for those who suffer from anxiety disorders.
A number of users commented saying they had often used this technique and it worked.
‘I had surgery last week. I literally told everyone “I am excited!” leading up to it. It was a major surgery, but I had zero anxiety going into it,’ one person wrote.
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