by Dr. Jeremy Jensen, Psy.D
With the end of the school year fast approaching, stress levels for many are on the rise. While most of us would give almost anything to avoid feeling anxious, it turns out anxiety is actually associated with several positive attributes. Of course, too much anxiety can be overwhelming but just the right amount can be beneficial. So, in addition to taking time for proper self-care, the next time you feel stressed you can reframe and reclaim anxiety in the following ways:
1. You are intelligent with a well-developed imagination: Researchers at King’s College in London have recently drawn a connection between anxiety, higher IQ scores, and creativity.
2. You are prepared, observant, and self-aware: The right amount of anxiety improves performance on a variety of physical and mental tasks.
3. You possess important social-emotional competencies: Anxiety encourages you to stay open to the social and emotional signals of others, helping you recognize certain strengths and weakness in them. In some situations, anxiety can even help you detect when people are lying.
4. You have the potential to be a good leader: According to a recent article in Forbes magazine anxious leaders actually make better decisions.
5. You are good friendship material: While most social anxiety sufferers have doubts about the quality of their friendships, their friends seen them in a much more positive light. Furthermore, getting a little flustered in social situations often serves to show others that you care and are trustworthy.
6. You are safety conscious: Researchers have discovered that anxiety in childhood reduces the occurrence of life threatening accidents in early adult life.
7. You are courageous: True courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness and ability to proceed in spite of and with the help of it.
So remember, while anxiety doesn't always feel good in the moment, we are learning more and more about the many, sometimes surprising, positive side benefits it brings with it. Understanding this won't eliminate anxiety, but it can help us take a different, more positive view of it, which can make a huge difference in how it impacts our lives.
Note: This piece is based on an article originally written by Renee Jain and published in the Huffington Post.