Why is anxiety good?

Although it can sometimes seem useless, there is a purpose for anxiety. These feelings and symptoms are part of our innate way of dealing with stress. Known as the fight-or-flight response, anxiety aims to protect us from danger and allow us to react faster to emergencies. Anxiety can be helpful, but most people think of anxiety, more specifically generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), in a negative sense.

It is an emotion that makes us feel uncomfortable and tense, and it is a state that we want to alleviate as soon as possible. A person who tends to be anxious can also naturally be very intelligent. Anxious people can be incredibly good researchers, critical thinkers, and analyzers. In addition to naturally tending towards high-level intellectual processing, anxiety can also teach you to be smarter as you go through a process of learning more about it.

Developing a better understanding of your anxiety can help you learn to explore options consciously and solve problems calmly. That ability improves your mental and emotional intelligence. What we know is that we want the feeling to go away and we will do almost anything to get rid of the feeling: avoid studying for the exam, canceling the date, skipping the checkup. This desire to escape or avoid anxiety is very natural.

After all, anxiety should function as an alarm or warning signal to let us know that dangers lie ahead so that we can protect ourselves. It is a tremendously adaptive system and the associated body responses do a fantastic job of helping us manage objective hazards. Therefore, if a bear chases us in the forest, then an acute response of fear with a racing heart and shortness of breath that prepares the body to flee, fight or freeze is just what we want to help escape danger.

Ralph Cook
Ralph Cook

General coffee specialist. Hipster-friendly pop culture enthusiast. Freelance twitter specialist. Hipster-friendly internet evangelist. Infuriatingly humble pop culture ninja.