Listen up, fellow chronic worriers: All that anxiety from letting your mind race 24/7 might not actually be so bad for you after all.
According to a study published in the journal Social & Personal Psychological Compass, there are some serious upsides to worrying: It helps prepare you for the future by making whatever comes your way—even if it’s something not so great—feel a little less scary and overwhelming upon fruition. Also, since stress helps you handle bad news better, it conversely leads you to appreciate good news much more and can motivate you to make good choices.
“[Worrying] draws our attention to bad things that might happen to us, and then it pushes us to take action to prevent those fates. People who worry more about car accidents are more likely to wear their seatbelt.” —Kate Sweeny, Ph.D
“[Worrying] draws our attention to bad things that might happen to us, and then it pushes us to take action to prevent those fates,” study co-author Kate Sweeny, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, told The Cut. “People who worry more about car accidents are more likely to wear their seat belt.”
“A little worry or anxiety can be motivating, too much can be counterproductive,” clinical psychologist Sarah Kate McGowan, PhD, told The Cut. “When someone feels like their worry occurs frequently, out of their control, and interferes with their life, those are signs that they should consider meeting with a mental health provider.”
But once you strike the right worrywart equilibrium, you’ll reap the mind-grounding benefits and keep your mental health in check.