“It’s all in your head!” Your friend states when you begin to have anxiety over a future test.

Well according to research, there may be certain areas ‘in your head’ that determine higher or lower risks for anxiety disorders.

The study found that those who have “higher activity in a region of the brain responsible for complex mental operations” are actually less likely to develop psychological disorders related to anxiety.

“These findings help reinforce a strategy whereby individuals may be able to improve their emotional functioning — their mood, their anxiety, their experience of depression – not only by directly addressing those phenomena, but also by indirectly improving their general cognitive functioning…” stated Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology at Duke University.

This finding centers around the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for situation adaption, emotion regulation, problem-solving and more. Individuals who were at pre-risk for anxiety disorders within the study were found to be less likely to develop anxiety if they had higher activity within this area of the brain.

The correlation between problem-solving and emotional regulation in relevance to level of anxiety is undeniably prevalent. Those who are able to manage themselves within their situation often have a better sense of self-control, resulting in lower anxiety overall.