The Surprising Benefits Of Worrying

Have you ever had that feeling before bed of stressing out that you’re worrying too much? Well, you’re definitely not alone.

But according to a new study published in Social and Personality Psychology Compass, worrying actually has more benefits than we give it credit for.

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The paper written by Kate Sweeny, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, and Michael Dooley, a doctoral candidate, suggests that worrying on occasion can have some advantages.

“Worrying the right amount is far better than not worrying at all,” Kate Sweeny says.

However they make a clear distinction between the beneficial type of worrying, which tends to focus on future events that you can anticipate or prepare for, as opposed to rumination, which focuses on past events in an effort to ‘understand or cope with the consequences of those events’.

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They found through their analysis that worrying about future events allows people to successfully problem-solve and think of solutions. It also showed that people who worried more were more likely to seek out more information to prevent the event.

They pointed to past studies as examples, showing that people who worried about car crashes were more likely to wear a seat belt, while people who worried about skin cancer were more likely to wear sunscreen.

Of course, while worrying in moderation can be beneficial, once it gets excessive or uncontrollable like in anxiety disorders or as continuous high stress levels, it starts to have much more negative health effects, such as increased risk of heart disease. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Beyond Blue.

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