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Did you know that with imagination, you can make stress an ally?

Have you ever been stressed out before a big test or a presentation in front of your colleagues or classmates? You feel anxious. Nervous. What if no one likes your talk? What if you’ve overlooked an entire section on the test, and you fail all of those questions? And, worse, if you don’t do well, everyone will know. They’ll talk about you. Behind your back! (Did you hear that Jane, like, totally bombed? Yeah. OMG. It was the worst.) You’ll be so embarrassed that you just might have to move to a small town across the world, or at least, wear a paper bag over your head, for months, so that no one knows who you are. Don’t fret, you aren’t alone and there’s something you can do about all of this stress.STREEEEESSSS!

Research from the University of Chicago shows that by changing the story of your stress, chances are your performance will actually be enhanced. And indeed, with a little imagination you *can* change the story around your stress to learn and perform better. At first it sounds a bit dubious, but give it a try. Essentially, your task is to train your mind to think that you LOVE pressure. You THRIVE on stress. (Not too much, just healthy pre-game or pre-test amounts.) Instead of being stressed out because you’re stressed out, tell yourself that small amounts of stress are really a good thing. It means you’re excited and alive! Aliiiiive! You could also journal out your worries, sing and dance them out, or pretend that you’re Spock’s cousin, and we all know he’s the coolest, most rational cucumber around. Or, brainstorm your own ways to work off the worry. With a little imagination, reasonable amounts of stress can become your ally.

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