Why Is Anxiety Good?

Anxiety feels different for everybody, but not many people would describe this as a pleasant experience. Yet you can still turn it to your advantage.

You can take anxiety as a force to change things, you’re not happy with. But to do this you need to know the root of your anxiety. You need to know yourself and be really honest with yourself. Without honesty, you can’t really change.

It sounds simple, but it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not easy to face your own darkest sides and be truly honest with yourself. Honesty can bring some more anxiety as well. It depends on the type of person you are.

Like with many things, there is no universal rule on how to turn anxiety into something good. You need to find your own cause and work with it.

We love to hear about the shortcuts. And follow other people’s advice to work on something. Knowledge is like a crutch for a broken leg. You need it, you can use it, but only you can and need to do all the work.

Again, another thing many of us don’t want to hear. Yet it’s true, I think. By my experience, only this can give you a long term result. The instant solution usually brings just some instant results.

Why exactly is anxiety a good thing? Because it shows you that something isn’t right. Only if you’re aware that something is wrong, you can make it right.

If you’re not an emotionally stable person, it’s best to do the self-reflection thing with the help of a psychotherapist or other professional who can guide you through.

What do you think? How can anxiety be a good thing?

Further reading:

21 thoughts on “Why Is Anxiety Good?”

  1. I use anxiety to push myself a little harder during a workout. I am able to extend my cardio, but it also helps to get out the epinephrine (adrenaline) that builds up. Doing this forces your brain back to the rational thinking and not emotional thinking which allows you to think through whatever is bringing up the anxiety.

    • I find your last sentence very interesting as it reminded me of the analogy of the feeling brain and thinking brain in the Clown car from Mark Manson’s book “Everything is F*cked, A book about Hope”. Check it out and see if there’s anything useful in it.

      it describes that emotional upheavals (anger, anxiety, sadness, even happiness) are often linked to a pre-existing narrative that was initially written when the emotional was first experienced by you and has been reinforced ever since. In trying to undo such an emotion the thinking or rational brain(which is the passenger in the car) has to ask/negotiate with the emotional brain (which is in control/driving the car) why it feels anxious in the present moment and then listens. This means to sit with the emotions and bear it (this is the hard part). The emotional brain is in control, not the rational brain. If your thinking brain and the emotional brain are in conflict (the thinking brain thinking it’s the one in control) then the results become apparent. You can’t rationally force yourself to do anything. You’ll feel anxious and then become anxious about being anxious which leads to the feedback loop from hell, described in Manson’s first book. The key is to know that it’s okay to feel anxious and trust me many people are. We just are at different points on the scale. Anxiety is good as it’s a way we experience the world. When the narrative surrounding it is bad however, it becomes a disorder. Our feelings and emotions direct our life based on our deepest values while the rational brain guides us to realize those values. This is counterintuitive to what is often taught which is that one shouldn’t be too emotional and emotions are bad and should be suppressed in exchange for rational thinking.

      I didn’t intend to write such a long reply. I liked that you transmute your anxiety into your workout.

  2. Sometimes anxiety can be crippling. I can’t drive on freeways because of it and it’s hard to talk myself out of it. Anxiety sometimes occurs to warn me that I’m sleepy though.

  3. I think it also makes you understand yourself better, get your needs as a priority and work on them which means working on yourself (such a positive thing). And by the way, being sensitive is so precious.

  4. I really like that you recommend talking things through with a professional, Anxiety can indeed cause positive change in our lives. An athlete at the starting blocks feels anxiety caused by adrenaline, but when noradrenaline we get OCD and related problems. I love your blog.

  5. I do believe that many times anxiety occurs when we are unsatisfied, deep down, with some aspect of our lives. We just lack the self awareness to realize it. You’re right about sometimes needing professional help. A good therapist will help you realize which aspect of your life the anxiety is coming from. Awesome article!

  6. Great post! 🙂

    I can relate to all you said. Finding knowledge on how to help yourself, for whatever reasons, is a blessing. But we need to put our knowledge into action. Which is why I LOVE what you said: “Knowledge is like a crutch for a broken leg. You need it, you can use it, but only you can and need to do all the work.”

  7. Completely agreeing with your perspective. Life is about experiences; good or bad. The question is how do you deal with bad ones. It can be a wake up call to something great or downward spiral. What’s the results you seek? Then again, self-improvement eally doesn’t have an end result. It’s a continual life long process. We are all “Works in Progress”.

  8. I use anxiety to identify the things I value and things I don’t. If I get anxious about approaching and talking to a certain person, for example, it can inform me that I value them, since I don’t always get anxious about talking to other unknown individuals. Rather than becoming anxious about the fact that I am anxious I focus on analyzing what exactly is it about this particular person I value. This is good since, in the end, I get to know myself a little bit better.

  9. I am unable to use anxiety as an inducement to do something, however I believe that I must try to do so even though it gets very hard. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. Great post! I agree anxiety CAN be positive and push you to change and improve. I used to feel terrible anxiety over public speaking but chose to push past it and became quite comfortable speaking in front of large crowds or classes. However, I also have had panic attacks when the anxiety gets to be too much. It’s a balancing act but with help (good call) it can be good. Thanks for the post. I really like your site.


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