Anxiety is the most common mental disorder that there is. Anxiety has always been there; it’s a big fear with emotions. The regulation of emotions look at the actions that alters the personality of someone or the intensity of the emotional experience. The emotion regulation is a thought of looking to your awareness and the aims made to actually change felt emotions. There are two different categories referred as “intentional” or “incidental” These two experience alike emotion-modulatory effect but research has directly differentiated the underlying neural mechanisms of the two.
According to a German study that was published last year, to understand anxiety’s built-in motivation and being open about your feelings can actually help us flourish (1).
The primary article goes into detail about anxiety and how certain chemicals are released. In the study that involved 39 older adults, they examined and tried to see which incidental and intentional emotion regulation, produced a common, divergent neural and self-report responses to avoid images relative to observe-only condition in this sample.
Emotion regulation is a familiar thought of referring to a conscious and intentional try to change the emotions that are being experienced (2). These patients were put through a scanning, but before entering it, the participants were given instructions on certain conditions of the task given and they had a chance to practice it. They had to then discuss their responses with the experimenter to make sure they knew what they were doing. During the scan, the participants were shown photograph of negative emotionally-evocative scene, which were presented in a covered design and they were told to either passively view the stimuli, or use one of the two emotion regulation strategies.
Those strategies were “intentional” or “incidental”. In the study they defined it like this, “ we compared intentional and incidental emotion processing, namely, reappraisal and affect labeling, at the neural and experiential levels, to examine the extent to which they involve common vs. distinct neural and psychological mechanisms.” (2)
In the secondary article, they broke down what the primary one was saying. They said to think of anxiety as a single. They say that anxiety is made to make you uncomfortable so you can actually pay attention to what’s really going on and what you have to do to make it stop. The example they used is when a baby is crying; the anxiety is making you aware that something is wrong with it and that you need to figure out what is wrong. They also have you label the feeling so you can steer your experience. When having anxiety, they suggest that you take what is bothering you and change it into something positive. Their example was, if you’re scared about your first date with someone, use that fear about your heart beating so hard, that it’s the possibility of the date going really well. Their last approach on how to harness anxiety is to aim for the sweet spot. When being stressed out about something meeting its deadline, look for the sweet spot and focus on getting the task done with no distractions.
This research was helping us understand and letting us know that we could all use one thing when it comes to anxiety: hope. They said that hope is what rises from the realization that we are the ones who are in control of our feelings instead of letting anxiety take over us. When we are in control, we think about what our anxiety is doing to us and we can use that to actually pair up with it and think of the better situation. This study wants us to use anxiety and change out mind-set and to control our behavior and partner with anxiety to reclaim control of yourself.