A study published today in the journal Emotion, an online journal run by the American Psychological Association (APA), demonstrated how people manage their anxiety affected the levels of apprehension assumed.
Mr. Gordon of Lima was recently contacted about a King’s College London finding regarding possible new anti-depressants so; he expressed his thoughts on this as well: “I used to make fun of my wife, calling her a ‘Pollyanna’ and she would shrug and tell me I could use a little of that myself. Of course, she will read this and give me that I-told-you-so look,” he said laughing.
Continuing, “It will be something that I will continue to work on, no doubt, since in this past year, I actually was working on it,” he said. “That looking at all this MS stuff as something that could only affect me as much as I, myself, let it. I would try to only allow myself a pity party for just so long and then would think of all the blessings I had…it really did seem to create better days for me. When I let it, that is.”
A series of questions were asked 179 men and women regarding how they handled their emotions along with the level of anxiety they judged they had and found those who naturally used what psychologists call the “emotional regulation strategy called reappraisal” strategy were more likely to have less anxiety over-all.
A graduate of University of Illinois student, Nicole Llewellyn, who led the study with professor Florin Dolcos of the Beckman Institute at Illinois had this to say, “When something happens, you think about it in a more positive light, a glass half full instead of half empty. You sort of reframe and reappraise what’s happened and think what are the positives about this? What are the ways I can look at this and think of it as a stimulating challenge rather than a problem?”
Those who tended to suppress, or even anticipate problems, felt a great deal more apprehension than the others and this led to professor Dolcos to recite a prediction made by The World Health Organization (WHO) that allows anxiety and depression to affect an incredible 18% people worldwide by 2020 and [it will be], “secondary only to cardiovascular disease. So it’s associated with big costs.”
Whether this means more in the study showed greater apprehension and anxiety than not, it is unclear. It could possibly only mean this was the reason for the study.
Professor Dolcos also mentions that not all anxiety is bad since a low-level of it can help maintain a person’s focus on achieving their goals and had even went to so far as to saying suppressing in “short-term situations” can also be fine, “such as when your boss yells at you” but that long-term is definitely not what is desirable.
Noting that previous studies have proved the idea that people who were more Pollyanna-type were known to suffer from anxiety less than those who weren’t, Llewellyn said she believes this new study goes one step further, “This is something you can change. You can’t do much to affect the genetic or environmental factors that contribute to anxiety. But you can change your emotion regulation strategies.”
Until scientists can take current findings on anti-depressant medicines and take those a step further; patients are finding themselves playing the game of what current medicines have worked for now, and even going so far as to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol.
Red flags were raised regarding just that in a 2004 study and, considering how more and more people are being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), with data showing an even higher than previous thought depression, anger and anxiety being present in these patients; it can’t be stressed enough how important it is for researchers to stay focused on this.
If being a ‘Pollyanna’ will help for however long is needed, then that is some pretty decent advice.
Sources: Journal Reference:
Nicole Llewellyn, Florin Dolcos et al. Reappraisal and Suppression Mediate the Contribution of Regulatory Focus to Anxiety in Healthy Adults. Emotion, 2013 (in press); DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCE; http://www.biomedsearch.com/article/case-study-identifying-alcohol-abuse/172597391.html