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Scientists Find People With Anxiety Are More Intelligent

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Scientists Find People With Anxiety Are More Intelligent

You may have found yourself ruminating about your last interview or your wedding plan or maybe your next college assignment. In one way or other, we all tend to worry about things. A quick search on the internet will return a plethora of articles that tell you how to manage your stress. This emphasis on relieving stress disturbs some of us so much that, ironically, we tend to stress out to get rid of our stress. However, according to a recent Canadian research, stress in not all that bad, and may even indicate higher intelligence.

Some of you may have already pictured the brilliant protagonists of “The Goodwill Hunting” or “A Beautiful Mind” tormenting over some trivial stuff. In fact, the abilities of these characters closely correlate with the findings of a Canadian study that argues that people who spend a lot of time thinking about a problem tend to have higher verbal intelligence.

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Verbal intelligence, which is a measure of our ability of problem solving, critical thinking, and abstract reasoning, is fundamental to our success in accomplishing certain objectives. People with higher verbal intelligence can put their message across in the way they want, which may be conducive to their achievement of specific goals.

Why are stress and intelligence correlated?

Nonetheless, the question is why stress and intelligence are correlated? A video by Science of Us explains that there could be three possible explanations for this seemingly counterintuitive association – psychological, neurological and evolutionary. The psychological hypothesis proposes that since people who are stressed spend more time rethinking and analysing about different issues, they perhaps understand about events and ideas better than others.

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The neurological hypothesis says people who stress more have the higher amount of white matter. Since white matter is primarily the neuronal connections that act as a conduit between different regions of the brain, a larger proportion of it facilitates faster communication between the various brain regions and results in more swift response. The evolutionary hypothesis, on the other hand, suggests ruminators have a survival benefit as their tendency to preplan things prepare them for eventualities.

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Psychological Hypothesis

According to this hypothesis, this could all be because of the time these people spend on thinking. When we are settled with a simple explanation of whatever is going on around us, these people relentlessly pursue the causes or repercussions of any actions. They are habitual overthinker and perhaps this overthinking helps them better understand people and their surroundings.

Neurological Hypothesis

The neurological explanation says people who stress more have the higher amount of white matter. White matter is primarily the neuronal connections that act as a conduit between different regions of the brain. A larger proportion of white matter means having multiple communication channels between the various areas of the brain. This is like a news corporation with a vast network of reporters. Due to this, these people can comprehend and respond to the situation more swiftly than ordinary individuals.

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Evolutionary Hypothesis

We may all have read the theories of evolution in which Charles Darwin proposed the “Survival of the Fittest”. “Survival of the Fittest” in simple terms suggests that if you want to qualify for the next round of the tournament, you have to win this round, or else you are eliminated. In our case, it suggests that ruminators have a survival benefit as their tendency to preplan things prepare them for eventualities. These survivors then can pass their characteristics to their offspring, and preserve their lineage.

The ultimate message here is that your stress might just be a reflection of your higher intelligence, and you may not have to worry about it increasing your stress further. However, it is important to understand that anxiety itself does not improve intelligence. In fact, overly anxious people tend to have problems with sleep, concentration, memory and immunity as well. An optimal balance between rumination and relaxation is all that we need to live happily.

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Scientists Find People With Anxiety Are More Intelligent

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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