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The Upside of Anxiety

By Rich_Maloof Jun 20, 2012 4:05PM

Whether you are a high-functioning achiever or an incapacitated victim of dread and fear, anxiety plays a role in how you get things done. Which anxiety type are you?

Anxiety can have a positive impact on how you achieve goals, overcome challenges, and manage all kinds of tasks — provided your brain is wired to cope with the emotion effectively. And everyone’s brain is hooked up a little differently. The Wall Street Journal this week identifies anxiety’s sweet spot for success and helps sort out different anxiety types.

A procrastinating perfectionist, for instance, delays to the last possible moment and then takes action in a frantic frenzy. These types actually manufacture an anxiety-producing situation in order to get things done — even though time and time again they wish they hadn’t waited till the clock ran out. It seems like a form of self-torture.

If you’re overly optimistic, on the other hand, you may not have the spark of energy that anxiety provides. People who are convinced everything will come up roses can lack the motivation to take action. Prepare for the annual salary review with the boss? Pffft — it’ll be fine.

High anxiety can be a serious and debilitating disorder. The National Institutes of Health indicate that about 18% percent of population is somewhere on the anxiety spectrum. Yet, a smaller, healthier degree of anxiety actually helps focus the mind. The procrastinating perfectionist may be giving herself a bad case of heartburn by not producing anything until the 11th hour before a deadline, but she is exploiting her own anxiety response effectively. She is using anxiety. Some people even use caffeine and cigarettes to simulate anxiety and prompt a reaction in the brain; by raising heart rate and constricting blood vessels, the vices mimic the fight-or-flight response that is at the prehistoric heart of anxiety.

“The fresher view is that some anxiety is actually good if you can keep it in check and channel it into action rather than inaction, and letting it paralyze you,” says Melinda Beck of WSJ. “It's all part of accepting it and saying, ‘This is scary — but I can do it.’”

Jun 24, 2012 4:45AM
Anxiety is the successful tactic of LIARS . Instill fear ( although our Animal Instinct is cautious ) to the masses that they have no social skills and watch our society become more and more alienated . The numerically inclined become Anxious as there bank accounts gets bigger ... they won't be able to buy any freedom from the society at large. We need less executives thinking they look good in their overpriced decadent face of a lifestyle built on buliding empires that oppress and segeregate cities. No wonder other countries want to bomb us ... we kill our own kind ....
Jun 24, 2012 3:51AM



Be sure to talk it out with someone...if not a friend or family member...get to a 3rd party counselor or Church....people will want to help you....


It has to be brutally tough -- but you will get to a better place if you look for some help, take one minute, then one hour, then one day at a time to get to a month at a time and so on...until you feel better again -- your wife would want you to do that....


Best of luck...


Jun 24, 2012 3:40AM
My anxiety is from the loss of my wife I find it very hard to function and very suicidal .. I guess with the amount I have it is not helpful ... Maybe  the way this headline was written .. Should have explained further up that too much isnt good not at the very end play with peoples minds thats all you did
Jun 24, 2012 1:18AM

Anxiety is not to be connected with good health and well being. I have firsthand knowledge it can lead to health issues and self destruction. Without a doubt, the person who wrote this BS is a jackass!

Jun 24, 2012 12:52AM
I think people here in the comments are getting anxiety and chronic anxiety mixed up. A little bit of stress could give you the motivation to get something done faster or better. Being a little stressed about a job opening could motivate you to put everything you have into a resume to make it look as good as possible. Chronic anxiety on the other hand, can ruin someone's life and lead to many health issues.
Jun 24, 2012 12:36AM
I had anxiety attacks when I was in my mid twenties.  Not fun, but as soon as I realized what they were after seeing a doctor in the ER, they disappeared.  These days, I find that I get the most anxiety from a day that I get nothing accomplished.
Jun 24, 2012 12:32AM
HIgh anxiety.  Mel Brooks knows best.
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