Turning Anxiety into Excitement

The original link for this video is featured on the Learning Scientists website  in a blog about maths anxiety

The video talks about a research based strategy based focused on the idea that anxiety and excitement are physiologically linked (i.e. the body’s reaction), but that psychologically they can have different effects (excitement puts people in a positive frame of mind, where opportunities are seen, whereas anxiety leads to the opposite closed down mindset, which in turn prevents focused problem solving and a balance response to a situation). 

The suggestion is that the normal advice of trying to remain calm may not be always be the best response and that focusing on feelings of excitement might be better even though this may feel illogical at the time. The suggestion is that a threat mindset allows distractions based on all the things that could go wrong to overwhelm the situation whereas excitement allows a more opportunity mindset focusing on the things that could go right. It is also suggested that it is easier to go from an anxious state to an excited one rather than to a state of calmness. 

This doesn’t mean the individual is any less anxious just that their ability to do better in the situation is improved if they have a more ‘excited’ approach.

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Many years ago I remember someone telling me that when I am in a situation where I am very nervous that I should try and imagine myself really looking forward to it instead, even though this seems illogical. She told me at the time that the two emotions were similar and that reframing the feelings would be a big help. This is a strategy I have regularly used since, often successfully and it was therefore really interesting to come across this video and concept and to hear it is a real researched based strategy. 

Whilst it might not work in every situation, it has got to be worth a try next time you are facing a situation that makes you anxious. 

This month's free photo download to prompt reflection:

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How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Save the image to your downloads folder.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

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