Anxiety, though unbearable it may be, is an evolutionary trait that was once essential to the survival of our species. The heightened senses, and the exaggeration of the things that seem like a threat, both point to a special trait that prehistoric humans possessed.
Humans needed this kind of mental state to sense and predict the dangers lurking in the wild. Indeed, life back then was far more dangerous and people needed a mechanism that could potentially save their lives.
However, the level of worry resulting from anxiety is something we don’t really need in today’s ways of living. What is surprising, though, is that scientists have found that the intelligence we praise so much has evolved alongside with worry.
In a research done by SUNY Downstate Medical Center, it has been found that both intelligence and worry correlated with the activity of the brain measured by the reduction in quantity of a nutrient called Choline in the subcortical white matter of the brain.
This correlation has led scientists to conclude that anxiety and intelligence evolved together to help the human race survive to this day. What is more, this conclusion has been reinforced by other studies, which have linked worry with high intelligence.
In a study published on Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, researchers have concluded that people suffering from anxiety might as well be more intelligent.
The results of the study showed that healthy people with higher IQ had lower worry levels. However, when it came to patients with generalized anxiety disorder, the researchers discovered that the higher the worry levels were in a patient, the higher their intelligence was.
It turns out that the high levels or worry come as a result of a higher intelligence, which creates them through ruminating, or excessive overthinking. Although counterintuitive, people who suffer from anxiety possess a strong mental ability to calculate all the possible risks which their brain interprets as real dangers.
It really does take an intelligent person to think of so many things in such a short time. Although many of those worries are not something a regular person would even consider, anxious people tend to remain attached to the conclusions that their super-computer brains are able to make.
Another study done by researchers from the Department of Psychology, Lakehead University, Canada concluded the same thing. They found that high intelligence positively correlated with the severity of worry and rumination.
It was discovered that the levels of intelligence were more strongly linked to the cognitive processes that underlie emotional disorders, while posing a possible relation to the symptoms of the same.
In other words, the levels of anxiety that a person demonstrated were directly correlated to their level of intelligence.
Anxious people possess so many beneficial traits, when we come to think of it. We have already discussed some of the unique abilities people suffering from anxiety have, and we will pose the same thought to consider:
Is anxiety perhaps not so much a disorder, but rather a different state of mind that people are not used to?
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