Cited in Yahoo Health – Good News Worriers, You Might Actually Be Amazing Problem Solvers

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 3.46.00 PMNew research published in the journal Emotion this week found that worrying about the results of something important while waiting can actually help people cope with the outcome. Many people assume anxiety and worry are unhelpful when it comes to coping, but research again demonstrates the opposite: that worry can help problem solving and coping. The idea that anxiety is bad is more more myth than reality when it comes to coping. Yahoo Health asked me to weigh in on how and when anxiety can be helpful, and I was very pleased to do so. To read the full article, click here.

Licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health that worrying a little can actually be good for us. “A moderate amount of anxiety and stress actually helps us function at our best,” she says.

Of course, there is a downside of worrying — especially when you worry too much. When it interferes with sleeping, eating, or daily functioning, it’s beyond the point of being helpful, Clark says.

We can even worry about the fact that we’re worrying, which doesn’t help either. “Sometimes people become anxious and secondarily become afraid of their anxiety,” Clark says. “This worry about worry can escalate anxiety into unhelpful panic type of reactions.” However, she says, worrying is a natural emotion, and one that we should simply accept on occasion.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD