Writing down your anxieties before a stressful situation like an exam or speech greatly boosts your performance, a new study suggests. The simple act of jotting down worries appears to clear the mind and allows it too focus on the job in hand, researchers believe.
The technique is so powerful that students taking an exam showed a 20 per cent improvement in their marks if they used it just before sitting down.
“People are in this stressful situation and they worry about it and the consequences,” said Professor Sian Beilock at the University of Chicago. “These worries are taking up resources that should be dedicated to the task. Putting pen to paper appears to offload these worries.”
Prof Beilock has previously shown that pressure-filled situations can deplete a part of the brain’s processing power known as working memory.