Nervous about an upcoming presentation or a major project?
A new research shows that sharing your anxiety with people who may be feeling the same way, can be an effective coping mechanism to deal with stress.
For the study, published jointly out of the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Leuven, Belgium, a group of 52 female students were paired and asked to give a speech while being video recorded. Before their speech, the students were encouraged to discuss how they felt about the task.
Researchers measured their levels of the
-related hormone, cortisol, before, during and after the speeches.
The researchers then created an index of each pair’s emotional similarity as well as how the participants perceived the speech task to be, and found that: “...sharing a threatening situation with a person who is in a similar emotional state, in terms of her overall emotional profile, buffers individuals from experiencing the heightened levels of stress that typically accompany threat."
However, performance-related stage fright or
isn’t always bad. Another study published last spring found that shaky hands, a pounding heart, and sweaty palms can actually help improve both physical and mental performance. It’s just a matter of reinterpreting these responses as natural and helpful reactions.
"The body is marshalling resources, pumping more blood to our major muscle groups and delivering more oxygen to our brains,” said Jeremy Jamieson of the University of Rochester.