Here's How You Can Use Science To Overcome Your Anxiety!


Time goes so fast and we modern people just have so much to do in 24 hours. If you’ve never experienced anxiety in your life, well done, you must be some sort of a saint. We ordinary people, on the other hand, suffer from anxiety on a daily basis. A Harvard psychologist has a method to overcome this problem. Let’s see what it is.

In her latest book, Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests an effective exercise to overcome anxiety.

Her suggestion is to remind yourself of what you value the most and write it down on a piece of paper: family, career, creativity, friends; it could be anything.

And remember a time when that value was really important.

This exercise may seem unrelated to the topic, but it will remind you what you as a unique individual can come up with about yourself.

Research shows that "reflecting on personal values" aka "self-affirmation" can help people deal with challenging situations.

Self-affirmation help you to change your point of view by making you focus on what you really care about, instead of the challenging situation you’re in.

An experiment conducted at University of California asked students to answer a set of questions.

All participants completed a questionnaire that asked them to rank the importance of five personal values: religion, social issues, politics, theory, and aesthetics.

Half the participants answered questions about their top-ranked value; the other half answered questions about their lowest-ranked value.

And then, they were asked to give a five-minute speech on why they would be a good candidate for a job at the university.

After giving the speech, they were asked to count aloud backward from 2,083 by 13 seconds while experimenters yelled at them to "go faster."

Results showed that participants who'd self-affirmed by writing about their most important value reported significantly less stress while preparing for the speech.

Experimenters also measured their levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and found out that the participants who'd self-affirmed showed no significant spikes.

In other words, reflecting on who you are and what you really care about might actually be enough to buffer the effects of a stressful experience.

Cuddy says self-affirmation facilitates the development of "presence," which she defines as “being attuned and able to express your true potential” — by allowing you to become "your authentic self" and "your boldest self."

She says, “It's not about believing that you're the best at this role or developing a false sense of confidence. Instead, it's about knowing that you're able to do the best you can and demonstrate your personal strengths and talents.”

Cuddy also says that self-affirmation is "a way of grounding ourselves in the truth of our own stories. It makes us feel less dependent on the approval of others and even comfortable with their disapproval if that's what we get."

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