When you're worried, relaxing may not always be the best thing to do.

How to overcome the things that worry you

In all life situations – whether you are looking for a promotion at work, starting your own business or just trying to keep on top of the stresses in your life – it's sometimes hard not to get anxious.

But constant worry is one of the major things that can get in the way of your personal development. However, is there an easy way to channel this negative energy into something positive?

Mind over body vs. body over mind

When we worry, our body releases a concoction of hormones that makes us more aware and quicker to react. Interestingly, this reaction is physiologically similar to that of excitement. When we feel exhilarated, a very similar hormonal boost results in the same symptoms. It's the fight or flight response, and it has a powerful impact on your body. Ultimately, it can either hold you back or give you the boost you need.

The neurons in your brain may not be controllable, but the way your mind processes them is.The neurons in your brain may not be controllable, but the way your mind processes them is.

A recent study by Dr Alison Wood Brooks published in the American Psychological Association explored this idea, finding that the solution may be a lot simpler than one might expect. A series of experiments where she asked participants to either feel calm or excited in several tense scenarios revealed that people who forcibly felt excited consequently were more confident and actually performed better than those trying to feel calm. By essentially faking it, you can transform the way your mind processes anxiety, explained Dr Brooks.

"The way we talk about our feelings has a strong influence on how we actually feel."

"When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the things that could go badly."

The power of a positive perspective

Changing the way you look and talk about things – reframing your perspective – can have a major impact on your outcomes. If you've got a job interview or performance review coming up, naturally you are going to get anxious. But trying to relax may not be the best option, and dwelling on the negatives certainly is not.

"When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the things that could go badly," said Dr Brooks. "When they are excited, they are thinking about how things could go well."

"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."

If worrying about things is taking up too much of your energy or time and getting in the way of managing yourself, then maybe some development training could give you the boost you need to help you better channel your energy and maximise your use of time.

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