How worrying can actually be good for you

Posted at 12:43 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 17:00:43-04

Many of us are familiar with the hit song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” but it turns out a certain amount of worry is indeed good for us.

Worry is a natural emotion that a lot of us experience at some point in our life. But it’s often looked down upon, perceived as useless or destructive.  

A new study finds the right amount of worry can come with benefits. It may help people not only be prepared for the future, but for worst case scenarios.  

Worriers tend to perform better at work or in school, make better problem solvers and avoid unpleasant events. They feel compelled to make healthier decisions like wearing a seatbelt, applying sunscreen and keeping up with doctor visits and health screenings.

The key word is moderate. Researchers found women with moderate worry were more likely to get cancer screenings when compared to women with low or high worry levels.  

Too much worrying can be paralyzing, while too little doesn’t provide enough motivation.

It’s important to find the right balance of worry so here’s my prescriptions:

  • When you start feeling worried, look at your thoughts to see if they’re productive. Do you need to take action or are you just ruminating?
  • Worriers tend to expect the worst.  Instead of focusing on the bad, attempt to resolve what’s bothering you.
  • Don’t suppress your worries as this may trigger them to pop up more often.  Rather, acknowledge them and move on.
  • Instead of revisiting the past, or predicting the future, live in the now. Be mindful and focus on the present moment.

If worry is a way of life, leaving you feeling anxious, paralyzed, or powerless, you may have GAD, which stands for generalized anxiety disorder. 

That means you get extremely worried or nervous when there is little to no reason for these feelings.  

If you have trouble controlling your worries or nervousness, have a hard time concentrating and know you worry more than you should, speak to your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.