3 words that may help you deal with anxiety

Can it really be this easy, though?
Woman stressed and anxious

When anxiety hits, those of us who have experienced it in its varied forms may feel an array of things: a racing heart, hot and cold flushes, tightening of the chest, as well as excessive fear, tension and restlessness.

And while there are myriad ways of finding support and treating anxiety (trust us when we say that your GP, as well as beyond blue, know a thing or two about anxiety conditions), new research suggests that three simple words may make all the difference when you’re feeling frazzled.

In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers investigated whether trying to calm someone when they were feeling anxious was, in fact, doing as much good as it was believed to be.

From the study, the researchers found that channelling the anxious energy to deal with the exact thing you’re feeling nervous about is the key to overcoming it. And this comes down to repeating one three-word mantra.

As reported by Stylist, the three words are…


Come again?

“I find that an overwhelming majority of people believe trying to calm down is the best way to cope with pre-performance anxiety,” author of the study, Alison Wood Brooks, explains.

“I investigate an alternative strategy: reappraising anxiety as excitement.”

“Compared to those who attempt to calm down, individuals who reappraise their anxious arousal as excitement feel more excited and perform better.”

It’s worth noting that during this study, this mantra was measured against performance anxiety – so, getting anxious or nervous about, say, public speaking, having a confrontational conversation with someone – something that involves using plenty of energy.

The idea is that these three words will help you embrace the task at hand, turning fear into excitement (this is something that isn’t applicable to feeling anxious at night as this is a period when you should be resting, not running on excitement).

Anxiety is something that is being more and more talked about in Australian society.

As previously reported by Good Health, anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia and it doesn’t discriminate.

On average, one in four people will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point and another 25 per cent of the population will experience less severe symptoms.

And it’s this is why Sydney’s upcoming Big Anxiety Festival is so important.

Backed and developed by UNSW and the Black Dog Institute, The Big Anxiety Festival is kicking off on September 20 and running right through to November 11.

With the intent of transforming the way people think, talk and deal with mental health, this two-month event is centred around five core themes: awkward conversations, lived experiences, the ‘NeurodiverseCity’, mood experiments and power, politics and institutions.

According to Concrete Playground, most of the art-themed events of the festival, scattered between Customs House in Circular Quay, UNSW and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre, are free and wheelchair accessible, and some are Auslan interpreted, audio described and feature tactile tours.

For the full list of events, visit

If you, or someone you know, feel anxious or are showing signs of anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Contact beyond blue on 1300 224 636 for a free, confidential chat or visit their website for more information.

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