Anxiety is a severe mental disorder which has symptoms like fear and constant worry at its core.
However, according to recent findings, your anxiety can be connected to higher IQ; i.e. your inclination to worry is directly correlated with your ability to process information and think clearly. In other words, your anxiety may be a sign that you are a highly intelligent person.
Jeremy Coplan, a psychiatrist and the leading author of the study which proved the correlation between anxiety and intelligence published in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, said that “we think normally of worry as being disabling. So we found this strange juxtaposition of something that was supposedly disabling being linked with something (intelligence) that was very adaptive.”
The study included 18 volunteers with no anxiety disorder and 26 patients with anxiety disorder. This study took place at five institutions and involved seven scientists who conducted it. They gave the participants an IQ test and measured their stress level too.
Coplan’s study found out that the participants who had higher stress levels performed better on the IQ test.
Additionally, Sanjay Mathew, from Baylor College of Medicine, took brain scans on the participants and they showed that the cerebral white matter (the place in the brain where critical communications are carried out between brain cells) responded in the same way to worry as in high intelligence.
Moreover, scientists from all over the world believe that anxiety actually makes people more sensitive and in tune with their emotions as well as the emotions of others.
Coplan also stated that we should not think of worry as a bad thing. In fact, it is a normal thing nowadays because we all are struggling with real life problems every day. Even in the past, our ancestors worried daily about staying safe and surviving from all the dangers in order to pass on their genes.
However, there is a downside in having anxiety and be constantly worried.
According to scientists from Purdue University, chronic anxiety leads to destructive behavior such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Moreover, this constant state of worry can lead further to neuroticism and depression.
However, in Coplan’s opinion, excessive worry can become pathological only if it affects the occupational, the recreational, or the family’s areas of life.
Even so, one can fulfill all their family duties, be successful in their job, and still have zero quality of life because they worry constantly.
The reality is – we all worry. Some more than others. And anxiety is number one the most common mental disorder according to Psychology Today.
Self-awareness is crucial in this case. I know I have anxiety, and I also know that I worry too much. How about you?
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