Why Worrying’s Actually Good For You. Sort Of.

Worrying is okay. It’s not great like giggling or hot falafel is, but it’s not completely terrible. Psychiatrist Professor Jeremy Coplan, for one, is a fan: “While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait … worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations,” he says. His study of 42 people found that the most anxious people were also the most intelligent (well, they had a higher IQ). So worry acts a bit like giant fangs or colourful plumage – it’s good for us as a species.

Another study, this time at Ohio’s Lakehead University, came to the same conclusion. When they gave people verbal intelligence tests, the worriers walked it. “There are fewer costs associated with worrying about a threatening event that does not occur than failing to anticipate,” their paper snappily concluded. (It all seems to be about evolution and survival with these researchers.) But basically, if you’re naturally anxious then you may also be naturally intelligent. Sound familiar?

Start the conversation