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Science Finds An Interesting Link Between Anxiety And Intelligence

Science Finds An Interesting Link Between Anxiety And Intelligence

People who think too much may have little reason to worry. Recent studies have shown that there is a link between anxiety and intelligence and it is a positive one.

Scientists found that people who worry a lot do so because they experience “high levels of spontaneous activity” in the part of the brain that manages threat perception.

Fear allows you to react to a potential threat in good time. Being too happy all the time means that you don’t think about potential problems.  It’s hard to anticipate something you’re not thinking about. Thus, the ultra-cheerful are at a disadvantage when they need to overcome adversity. This is especially true for rare or complex problems that are difficult to expect.

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People with anxiety are sometimes responding to a threat that doesn’t exist. But, the response means that their imagination is highly active. An active imagination keeps you safe from threats that other people might not pick up on.

The study was published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences in 2015. It is one of several studies to find a strong link between anxiety and intelligence.

An Anxious Mind Is a Focused Mind

The general belief about anxiety is that it’s a negative thing. Because suffering from anxiety is not pleasant, most of the people who deal with it wish they didn’t have to. But this does not necessarily need to be the case. Science is showing that a little bit of anxiety, while uncomfortable, is a good thing.

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In 2012, Israeli psychologists ran a test on 80 students at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. The students were under the impression that they were there to assess artwork on a piece of software.

Instead, the researchers rigged the program. Instead of viewing art, the students triggered a computer virus. They were then encouraged to contact IT.

Finding IT presented new challenges. As the students left the room, they were accosted by various obstacles. Some students dropped papers as they walked by. Someone also stopped them to ask the participant to complete a survey.

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The test found that the participants who really wanted to reach IT to fix the virus had the highest amount of anxiety.

The students who had less anxiety got distracted. They stopped to complete the survey, pick up the papers, etc.

Essentially, the anxious students had a greater sense of the threat and what was at stake. Thus, they stopped at little to accomplish their goal. This is where the correlation between IQ comes in because when anxious people want to relieve their anxiety not just by performing a task. They want to perform it well.

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So anxiety can actually gives us higher chance to succeed!

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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