Mollie Trainor is a TikToker and a master's student in psychology. She has gained a lot of attention for sharing a trick people can use to trick their minds into making them feel less nervous.
The technique is known as anxious reappraisal, and it makes the mind turn anxiety into excitement.
Trainor advises that if you have pre-performance anxiety, such as when you are about to give a presentation, you can turn the anxiety into excitement by simply saying to yourself, "I am excited."
The question is, why would this work? According to Trainor, anxiety, and excitement are similar in that they are both "high arousal" mental states.
From a psychological standpoint, the two states are very similar. That is why the brain can easily switch from feeling anxious to feeling excited.
She admits that this method of dealing with anxiety works a lot better than telling yourself to calm down. Calming down is a "low arousal" state, and getting to that state when you are highly aroused is much harder when you are anxious or excited.
Trainor admitted that the trick has worked out for her pretty effectively. That is why she recommends it.
She also wrote that one of the things she discovered once she took up psychology is that humans are more and less complicated than most people think.
The concept she was sharing was investigated by Harvard Business School. They carried out the study in 2013 using several anxiety-inducing scenarios.
Anxiety is a negative emotion that hampers performance. On the other hand, excitement is a positive and good emotion that enhances performance.
Many people make the mistake of trying to calm themselves down when feeling anxious. That is usually because they are trying to avoid the effects of feeling anxious.
This rarely works since the high arousal that comes with anxiety comes automatically. That is why trying to hide the emotion is often useless.
Luckily, anxiety and excitement are both high arousal situations. That is why very little intervention is required to turn a tense situation into an exciting experience.
According to the findings of the study, turning anxiety into excitement worked better than trying to turn it into calmness. Those who could successfully turn the anxiety into excitement performed better when speaking in public, singing, and performing mathematical tests.
Trainor made it clear that the trick worked for situations where pre-performance anxiety was involved, not in cases where people were dealing with anxiety disorders.
According to many users, the trick had worked out for them, just as Trainor had said.
One person admitted that they had zero anxiety when going into surgery because they told everyone, "I am excited!" Initially, the person was anxious in the moments leading up to the surgery, but the trick completely fixed this negative emotion.