Since I was in middle school, I suffered from anxiety. The sheer thought of having to speak up or get in front of people to present a project would send my heart into a beating frenzy.
I remember back in 7th grade English, my teacher (who inspired me to write) gave out the assignment of memorizing “What Happens To A Dreamed Deferred?” by Langston Hughes. Not only did the class have to learn it, but we had to stand up in front of the class to recite it. Words cannot explain the anxiety I felt at that moment. Sweat started to form all over my body. I could barely concentrate for the rest of that class period. I was too wrapped up in the thought of presenting in front of my class.
The very next day, it was time to do what I was dreading to do. Student after student after student stood up and recited the poem. When it came time for me to present the poem, I told the teacher I didn’t want to do it. My anxiety was through the roof, and I felt that if I stood up to present, I was going to pass out. I gladly accepted my “F” on that assignment.
Anxiety, by definition, is having strong feelings of worry or fear that interferes with a person’s daily life. It’s a prevalent disorder that affects millions of people.
Recently, while reading “The 5-second Rule” by Mel Robbins (if you haven’t read this book, check it out!), Mel got on the subject of worry/anxiety. She mentioned something that caught my attention. Anxiety reappraisal.
Anxiety reappraisal is telling yourself that you’re excited when you’re feeling nervous. Basically, turning that negative feeling of nervousness into a sense of excitement. When mentioned, I thought, “That seems simple enough. Does it REALLY work?” It sounds straightforward, but, like everything else in life, it takes practice to become comfortable with actually doing it.
I decided to give this technique a try. Just the other day, I’ve pondered the thought of promoting my new freelancing gig (editing/proofreading written works). I was nervous about getting the word out there about it because I didn’t think anything would come of it. I used the anxiety reappraisal technique for about five minutes. I repeated over and over again, “I am excited about this new venture. I am confident that by hard work and perseverance, it will be a success.” I spoke those words and posted my first promotional post. Within a few days, I got my first client! Seriously!! Words could not explain the excitement that I felt when I received my very first client.
The anxiety reappraisal technique, along with some prayer, helped me to get the word out about my freelancing gig and gain my first client. Stop allowing anxiety to get in the way of potential career advancements, personal growth, or anything that’s potentially good for you.
So, whether you’re getting ready for an interview, preparing for a date, or about to present in front of a room full of people, try anxiety reappraisal.
Instead of saying:
“I’m so nervous about (blank).”
“I’m excited about (blank).”
When did your anxiety begin? How do you manage it? Will you be trying the anxiety reappraisal technique to help lower or remove your stress? Comment your responses!