According to a study in the journal PLUS ONE, something as simple as self-affirmation can improve problem-solving performance in stressful situations.

For the study, researchers chose 80 undergraduate students under the age of 25 who were identified as having "perceived chronic stress." Upon arrival, the students completed a mood assessment and a short questionnaire about their values. The students were then asked to complete 30 difficult problem-solving items under time pressure in front of an evaluator.

Results showed that students performed better on problem-solving items when they had self-affirmation (meaning they were confident about their values and asserted positive mood attributes) in comparison to when they didn't.

Essentially, reminding yourself of how awesome you are has its perks. Those little things you do to boost your morale prior to a major test, big game, or important class can have significant implications on your success.

"The present study provides the first evidence that self-affirmation can protect against the deleterious effects of stress on problem-solving performance," researchers wrote. "Specifically, we show that chronically stressed individuals have impaired problem-solving performance and that self-affirmation can boost problem-solving performance under pressure."