Anxiety: 6 exercises to extract something positive from ‘misunderstood emotion’, according to neuroscientist

human brain illustration

Credit, Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine anxiety as a positive thing. What’s so good about feeling nervous, worried, with tightness in your chest? In Brazil, it is estimated that about 13 million people have anxiety disorders, a disease that impairs relationships, professional performance and the individual’s physical and emotional well-being.

But for Wendy Suzuki, neuroscientist and professor at the Center for Neural Sciences at New York University in the United States, anxiety can be a good emotion.

Rather than fighting it, Suzuki says that throughout her life she has used that emotion to be more productive, more optimistic, and ultimately more resilient.

The researcher, author of the book Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion (“Positive Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion,” in free translation) specializes in the study of brain plasticity and the transformative effects of physical exercise on mental health and cognitive development.