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11 Scientific Reasons Why People Who Are Socially Anxious Are Usually Highly Intelligent


We previously discussed about the positive link between intelligence and anxiety, and it’s truly remarkable that the higher the anxiety, the higher the intelligence of the person is. However, what does this mean for the anxious mind?

Science has been exploring anxiety ever since it was first recognized as a disorder, and their conclusions are mind-blowing.

The fact is that anxious people possess so many traits that others can only wish for, and this gift comes with а price, which is the burden of not being able to cope with anxiety so easily.

For example, did you know that the high level of intelligence that anxious people possess is what creates the troubles in their mind in the first place?

Here are 11 surprising characteristics that anxious people possess:

  1. Sentinel intelligence

Sentinel-related schema are specific cognitive patterns that allow a person to be among the first to detect the presence of a threat. Anxious people possess this ability, and can be real life-savers in such situations.

An example of this intelligence is what a study has shown: anxious people were able to detect the smell of smoke far before anyone else could. This only shows how their hyper sensitivity to threats is more than real. However, it can backfire very easily.

  1. Hyper self-awareness

The fact is that socially anxious people are extremely self-aware. They always watch and control their every move and word, and they are extremely concerned with how their actions could affect those around them.

While this is a positive thing, the problem comes when these people are put at the center of attention. The increased responsibility they feel at that moment can be exhausting and even debilitating, making them want to run away.

  1. Powerful mental processors

The anxious mind is a powerful logical processor. That’s why these people tend to ruminate over just about everything. The anxious mind will be looking at one thing from multiple angles, while expanding the picture to the very ends.

A study has found that anxious people indeed possess this ability to overthink situations, by looking at them from many angles and rationalizing them to a degree of utter madness. The problem is that all of this thinking eventually wears them down.

  1. High verbal intelligence

Anxious people possess an increased ability to perform analyses and solve problems through language-based reasoning. This language-based reasoning involves reading, writing, listening to words, conversing, and even thinking.

In other words, anxious people possess an increased verbal intelligence. This was confirmed by the same study mentioned above, and it is the underlying reason for their excessive thinking.

  1. Mind reading

No matter what you want to show on the outside, anxious people will sniff out your true state of mind and will know what you’re thinking or feeling. Although not mind readers in the literal sense, anxious people have a heightened awareness of other people’s state of mind.

A study showed that anxious people exhibited an increased ability to recognize the cognitive patterns in others, as well as their affective mental state. In other words, they knew what the other person was thinking and feeling.

  1. Empathy

Being able to tell what another person is thinking and feeling has got to do a lot with their powerful logical processors. However, anxious people have been noticed to pick up on other people’s emotional states even without analyzing.

Their empathetic ability is what makes them adopt other people’s problems as their own in many cases; and it is the same ability which makes them experience a great influx of emotions when surrounded by a large group of people.

  1. Down board thinking

Anxious people are masters of down board thinking. They can always predict a few moves ahead, especially in social situations. Their high and quick analytical skills allow them to follow the natural pattern of how things unfold.

Don’t be puzzled if an anxious person ends your sentences, or gets embarrassed before anyone else about an incoming faux pas.

  1. Special bonds

People with social anxiety tend to bond quickly with those with anxiety levels similar to theirs. These friendships form quickly and last for long. They possess the ability to sense and understand people’s minds, so it’s not hard for them to notice someone who is thinking similarly – and it’s mutual.

It’s not that they can’t make friends with others, but a study concluded that the intensity and the rapidity of bonding is increased by far when it comes to those with similar levels of social anxiety.

  1. Empirical conclusions

Their intelligence is unquestionable, so it’s natural to conclude that anxious people base many of their conclusions on empirical evidence. If their stress is showing, that doesn’t make them naïve.

In fact, these people know that history can repeat itself, so they tend to stay away from situations that have caused them to feel negative and stressed out.

  1. Intense sense of reality

Anxious people are not able to dilute the reality they perceive by choosing what to perceive and what to ignore. This keen sense of reality is a result of their constant ‘what if’ tasks in their minds.

While many people tend to ignore many of the possibilities that reality can bring, anxious people are unable to turn a blind eye to the same. This is their gift and curse at the same time.

  1. Piercing perception

Anxious people are able to pierce many of the veils of illusion that others tend to accept and enjoy. Be it an underlying intent, or an effort to hide something from plain sight, the anxious person will always get to the root of it and discover its true nature.

This is what makes them feel pessimistic about their future, especially with the distorted world we live in today. Being aware of how sinister people can be over insignificant things is what eventually pushes them into isolation and depression.