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When Being Anxious Is a Strength

October 18, 2016

 

 

In my previous post, we examined the difference between unhelpful and helpful levels of anxiety. I have also discussed, at length, the factors which contribute to anxiety disorders – biology, more specifically genetics, being a major contributor. You read that right, being an anxious person is an inherited trait. What this means is that your nervous system may be more easily activated due to genetics.

 

Here is something we have yet to discuss; the fact that being an anxious person can actually be a strength. This comes with a caveat (of course…), I am referring to anxious people who are able to manage the anxiety they experience. I discussed in my last blog the motivational benefits of low to moderate anxiety. The feeling of anxiety, quite literally, is what helps you to prepare well for a work project or presentation. Anxiety can help you to focus on important and relative information when making decisions.

 

Often times people who tend to experience higher levels of anxiety happen to be “analysts” or often caught up in their thoughts. There are a few studies suggesting a correlation between anxiety and intelligence due to this trait. Furthermore, people who tend to be more anxious also tend to be more conscientious. This means they tend to complete tasks well and genuinely care about treating other people well.  

 

"Anxiety Helps You to Perform"

 

To follow-up with my caveat listed earlier - there is such a thing as “too much” anxiety, and this unhelpful anxiety can literally “freeze” people from being able to function and make effective decisions. Sometimes, remembering the benefits of anxiety (and that it is ABSOLUTELY possible to live a happy and functional life with anxiety present) can alleviate the severity of the anxiety. For many people, the anxiety about anxiety is actually what puts them over the edge. Worrying about events has a helpful time and place – it is about finding the right balance and learning to effectively manage your emotions!

 

"Anxiety About Anxiety Is Usually What Puts People Over the Edge"

 

How do you get to a place where you experience healthy anxiety? For starters, it is important to learn ways to effectively manage emotions. It is also helpful to learn to manage biological reactions and lifestyle factors which make anxiety worse. 

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