People always tell you to relax every time you’re nervous about an upcoming event. However, a new study featured on Science Daily reports that encouraging excitement may be a better way to deal with your nerves.

In one trial, researchers from Harvard University asked 63 men and 77 women to give a speech to convince a judging committee on why they would make good work partners.

Half of the participants were asked to say “I’m excited” before they took the stage, while the other half had to say “I’m calm.” Interestingly, those who said that they were excited gave longer presentations and felt more persuasive and competent as compared with the other participants.


In another trial, 80 men and 108 women were given a math problem. One group had to try to get excited, while another had to remain calm. The results showed that those who answered the math problem enthusiastically scored 8 percent higher on the average than those who tried to relax.

Researchers believe that it may help to look at anxiety as a form of excitement instead of forcing yourself to calm down.

“When you feel anxious, you're ruminating too much and focusing on potential threats,” says study author Alison Wood Brooks. “In those circumstances, people should try to focus on the potential opportunities. It really does pay to be positive, and people should say they are excited. Even if they don't believe it at first, saying 'I'm excited' out loud increases authentic feelings of excitement.”

(Photo by Steven Depolo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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