03

Jan

All of us have had times where we’ve worried about something, and worry, at its core, is associated with higher levels of anxiety – but is this always a bad thing?

According to a collection of studies, worry can actually be “motivating, lead to creative inventions, and bring on relief even when everything is okay.”

In relevance to motivation, a recent study performed at the University of California focused on how worry can actually help us pay attention to things that are important. “It seems that both too much and too little worry can interfere with motivation, but the right amount of worry can motivate without paralyzing,” stated Kate Sweeney, the co-author of the study. If worry is stabilized, it will encourage us to do more things for our health and well-being, such as wearing a seatbelt, or putting on sunscreen.

On the other hand, worry also leads to creative inventions. Artists and musicians are known for turning their anxiety into art, but the same can be said for scientists. More neurotic, “worrying”, people tend to be better at problem-solving, thus, are more likely to create something new.

And finally, worry can bring on relief, even when all is well. “People who worry a lot do feel a bit better about bad news and extra great about good needs…we found this pattern in a study of law school grads awaiting news about their bar exam result. People who were more worried about their result felt better about their result either way, compared to people who sailed through the waiting period with relative ease,” stated Sweeney.

Overall, worry isn’t an innately bad thing. If there is a balance between our worry and normal thought processes, then the act of worrying can actually help rather than hinder us. One helpful tool for managing worry as well is to “make a list of your fears without judging them in a worry journal for 15 minutes each day.” Allowing yourself to process your worry and letting it manifest in a healthy way, will help stabilize the anxiety you feel from it.