Yahoo Health – One Less Thing to Worry About: Some Anxiety Is Actually Good for You


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More research is uncovering the advantages of anxiety in moderation – that some anxiety is actually good for you. In a new study carried out by France’s PSL Research University and Pierre and Marie Curie University using 24 volunteers and 1080 trials, anxious people were found to experience anxiety in different brain regions than those of their more laid back counterparts. These brain regions activated by more anxious people are those associated with motor functioning and activity, suggesting that anxious people might be better able to take swift and productive action when anxious.

The study’s authors observed that people who tended to be more anxious were also faster at processing their anxious emotions into action, and this makes a lot of sense. Anxiety is an emotion that is motivating, and at its best is a trigger for adaptive action. It’s a system designed to protect us, and is instrumental to success in life. As the authors note, these results can be understood from an evolutionary perspective: responding quickly and accurately to a threat is adaptive.  These data, like many others, suggest that a moderate amount of anxiety can promote success and optimal performance.

I was very pleased to contribute to Yahoo Health on the implications of these findings. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.


“We all have a sweet spot where the right amount of anxiety keeps us alert, thinking of future possibilities, and moving along in our problem-solving,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health. “Too little anxiety can leave us unaware of important problems and unmotivated to protect the things we care about, and too much anxiety can be overwhelming, making it hard to channel it into productive action.”

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD