“Get Excited!”

Jesse J. Anderson

— 2 min read

“Get Excited!”

Growing up with ADHD, I quickly learned to fear situations where I might be embarrassed or "found out" as being different than others. Often it was for not knowing the supposedly "obvious" or "common sense" way of doing things.

I think that history really amplified the anxiety I still feel in many social situations. Fear seems to show up regularly.

It's not uncommon to experience a level of fear or anxiety around things like public speaking, but for some it can be amplified to an unhealthy degree, making a significant impact on our lives.

There's actually a great little trick that's meant to help reframe your mind in times when you're feeling anxiety or fear.

It's based on the idea of cognitive reappraisal, which is basically just choosing to change your perspective on what is happening or about to happen.

Here's the trick:

“Once feeling anxious about something (e.g. public speaking, flying, a certain social event…), simply say to yourself, out loud, ‘I’m excited’ or ‘Get excited’ a few times.”

—Dr. Alison Wood Brooks

Sounds simple, right?

According to Dr. Alison Wood Brooks (professor and researcher at Harvard Business School), “an overwhelming majority of people believe trying to calm down is the best way to cope with pre-performance anxiety” but her research shows “reappraising anxiety as excitement is more effective than trying to calm down.”

Essentially, we're just telling our brain the nervous energy and other physiological signs in our body our actually related to excitement, not anxiety.

Last year, I took a public speaking course called Ultraspeaking and I wrote about how they taught a similar principle of embracing discomfort to find success in those high anxiety situations.

Initially, it's likely to feel fake to say "Get excited!" when you're feeling super nervous. That's okay!

I know with my kids that if I can get them to smile, even if it's a fake smile, that can often be enough to change their mood around.

Moving even just one small step toward the way we want to feel can make a huge difference.

Stay focused,
Jesse J. Anderson

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