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Scientists Find People With Anxiety Are More Intelligent

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 August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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