Is Anxiety an Asset Rather than a Curse?

anxietyIf you’ve ever felt anxious you’ll be wondering how I can possibly suggest it might be an asset.

First of all, it doesn’t feel good. Your heart races. So do your thoughts. And it’s usually accompanied by a tightness in your chest or twisting in your stomach.

Second, everyone tells you it’s a ‘disorder’. Which essentially means there’s something ‘wrong’ with you.

But what if there wasn’t?

What if your anxiety was actually something useful?

Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in New York found that people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder had higher IQ’s than people without anxiety. They hypothesised that being prone to worry increased intelligence over time. You know – a long time – evolutionary length. But hey – details, details.

The bottom line is that if you’re a worrier you’re probably going to be smarter than the average non-worrier. And because you’re smarter you can find and utilise strategies to overcome your worries. So all good.

If you have social anxiety – you’re a bit shy, or you get super nervous if you have to meet new people, or you fear being judged whenever you’re with people – there’s good news. The University of Haifa in Israel found that if you are socially anxious, you are more likely to have empathy for others – to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they’re coming from. This is a highly developed social skill.

Your empathy could also be an advantage for your anxiety. If you spend time tuning into the people you are talking to rather than focusing on your own anxiety, you could make a really good impression. There’s nothing we like more than someone really getting us.

So… my anxious friends. Now that we know you’re super-smart empaths I think we can ditch the ‘disorder’ title.