Got math anxiety?
Yes, it’s a thing: “Math anxiety” is a feeling of fear or worry that affects your math performance. If you suffer from math anxiety, the idea of taking a class to brush up on your geometry or algebra probably terrifies you. And calculus? Or statistics? Forget it.
Believe it or not, you’re likely already somewhat of a math whiz — you just don’t know it. We all use math in our daily lives, from the moment we wake up until our heads hit the pillow at night. Check out how:
1. You use math when cooking a meal
Cupcakes, pancakes, grilled steak and fries: Whatever you’re making, you’re probably measuring ingredients; converting measurements from metric to U.S.; doubling ingredients to make an extra to freeze; figuring out how much rice to make for four people if it expands to three times its size when cooked; calculating how many fat grams are in two servings of yogurt; and deciding when to start cooking each dish so they’re all ready at the same time.
2. You use math when shopping
Would it be cheaper per ounce to buy the giant jar of peanut butter for $10 or the small jar for $3? Which brand of granola bars has the least amount of carbs per serving? If the bill for those jeans comes to $45.23, what amount should you give the cashier to get back the smallest number of annoying coins? Would it be worth it for you to spring for a $20 loyalty card, judging by how much you spend at that store?
3. You use math when playing games
During game night, or on the field or court, you’re using even more advanced math.
For example: when you’re trying to, say, figure out whether to go for a full house or a straight in Yahtzee, you’re calculating probability. When you hit a three-pointer in basketball, you’re intuitively using abstract and difficult concepts like trajectory, air resistance and force.
4. You use math when dining out
A meal is full of math: how much to tip your server for a plate of $8 wings; whether it’s more calorie conscious to order an appetizer or to split a plate of pasta; and how to divide the check among five people.
5. You use math when redecorating your living room
You’re tired of that white-on-white look and decide to give your living room a makeover. You figure out what size rug you’ll need, how much paint to buy for an 18′ x 12′ room and how far apart to space the pictures on the walls. Wait, isn’t that a lot of math that you just did without freaking out?
Knowing that you’re already doing math can help you get over your fears and become more comfortable tackling that next math course on the road to your degree.