While we have shown you ways to calm down before a speech, new research suggests that’s not always the best strategy to deal with performance anxiety. Instead of getting calmer, get excited and you’ll have better results.
Alison Wood Brooks, PhD, of Harvard Business School, headed a study — published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: General — which showed that getting excited about the potential outcome of an anxious activity led to better performance than being calm or other emotions:
When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the things that could go badly. When they are excited, they are thinking about how things could go well.
The way we talk about our feelings has a strong influence on how we actually feel.
In (anxious) circumstances, people should try to focus on the potential opportunities. It really does pay to be positive, and people should say they are excited. Even if they don’t believe it at first, saying ‘I’m excited’ out loud increases authentic feelings of excitement.
Something to bear in mind if you have a speech or presentation to give.
Getting Excited Helps with Performance Anxiety More Than Trying to Calm Down, Study Finds [American Psychological Association]