There’s a huge difference between chronic stress and worry.
Chronic stress is an elevated level of anxiety that shuts down part of the brain (pre-frontal lobe), disabling your ability to think clearly. Chronic stress also depresses the immune system, making you vulnerable to viruses and bacteria and susceptible to diseases such as cancer.
Worry, on the other hand, is a mild form of anxiety that does none of those things. We tend to think worry is a bad, negative thing. But research shows a little bit of worry can actually help you to succeed in life.
Researchers at Ontario’s Lakehead University, led by Alexander Penney, surveyed 126 undergraduate students about their feelings in regards to anxiety, depression and worry. Students who ranked high on the verbal intelligence scale tended to worry more often.
Why is worry good for you?
- Worry keeps you alert and aware of your surroundings. it forces you to pay attention. This is a good thing because being aware of your surroundings allows you to see opportunities that others miss.
- Worry forces you to constantly think about solutions to your problems.
- Worry pushes you outside your comfort zone. It empowers you to experiment with new ideas in the hope of finding that working solution that will solve the problem that is causing you to worry.
- Worry nudges you to learn more. It alters your behavior in a positive way by pushing you to become more knowledgeable about the problems problem that are causing you to worry.
- Worry allows you to think about every conceivable outcome, good or bad, on actions you take and decisions you make.
- Worry forces you to pay attention to the details. The devil is always in the details and can derail goals, projects and initiatives.
- Worry stops you from procrastinating. It forces you to get things done. It not only pushes you to take action, it also pushes you to complete your tasks.
- Worry helps you prioritize what’s important and what’s unimportant. It helps sharpen your focus on doing the things that matter, that produce results that matter.
- Worry allows you to plan for the future. If you’re worried about your future, you will take action. If you’re not worried, you won’t.