Researchers at University of Illinois asked a group of 179 men and women to fill out a series of questionnaires where they were asked about how they handled their emotions and how anxious they felt in certain situations.
The researchers found that those who followed an emotional regulation strategy called reappraisal, which involved looking at a problem in a new way, had less social anxiety and less anxiety in general than those who avoid expressing their feelings.
"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", lead researcher Nicole Llewellyn said.