6 Potential Benefits to Having Anxiety

Positive Effects of Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety can be beneficial in some ways.
Being an anxious person can have its benefits. Photo © Micrsoft

Anxiety is a feeling that is often characterized by intense fear, worry, and apprehension. Many anxiety sufferers describe it as a feeling of nervousness and dread that can be distracting at best and all-consuming at worst. Anxiety is typically experienced on many levels, affecting one’s emotions, leading to uncomfortable physical sensations, and contributing to negative thoughts.

These symptoms of anxiety are a common problem for people who have been diagnosed with any type of anxiety disorder, including panic disorder.

 As a panic disorder sufferer, you may be well aware of how anxiety can hinder your life. However, have you ever considered some of the possible positive effects that may come with having anxiety?

The following is a list of some of the potential benefits to having anxiety:

Anxiety as a Warning Sign. Anxiety may be just the warning sign you need to bring awareness to your current situation and make some necessary changes in your life. Recurrent worry and nervousness can be an indication that some areas of your life are off track and need adjusting. For example, you may find that you have a relationship that is no longer working, perhaps your job is causing a great deal of stress, or maybe financial issues have you losing sleep and feeling anxious. Your symptoms can be difficult to manage, but exploring and coping with your anxiety can be a real opportunity for self-growth. The next time anxiety strikes, consider what message it has for you and the possible adjustments you may need to make in your life.


Anxiety as Motivation. Rather than always being considered a hindrance, anxiety may actually help you feel more motivated and prepared when faced with challenges. Research has shown that students and athletes who experienced some anxiety actually displayed improved performance on tests or while participating in competitive sports.

Consider ways that your anxiety creates an incentive for you to be successful in some areas of your life. For instance, perhaps your anxiety assists you in putting extra effort into work or personal tasks, making a good impression, or moving towards your goals. When considering your own anxiety, try to think of ways that you can use it to inspire your growth and self-improvement.  

Anxiety as a Built-In Warning System. Even though it may seem useless at times, there is a purpose for anxiety. These feelings and symptoms are a part of our innate way of dealing with stress. Known as the fight-or-flight response, anxiety is meant to protect us from danger and allow us to react faster to emergencies. When it came to our ancestors, the fight-or-flight stress response prepared humans to either attack back or flee from a life-threatening risk in the environment, such as a dangerous animal or climate condition. In modern times, anxiety may be a symptom that helps you to quickly react to avoid an accident while driving a car or prevent you from entering an unsafe place or circumstance.

In this sense, anxiety may be a sign to help keep you safe.

Anxiety as a Positive Character Trait. People that have dealt with anxiety may be more empathetic and understanding to the issues that others face. Having gone through personal struggles yourself, you may be more sensitive, loving, and accepting when friends and family members are dealing with personal challenges. People with anxiety may also skilled at leadership roles, as they take careful consideration to the possibility of multiple outcomes. For instance, many anxiety sufferers are highly aware of what can potentially go wrong, making them more cautious thinkers, careful decision makers, and great problem-solvers. If your self-esteem is negatively impacted by your issues with anxiety, try to come up with ways that anxiety has actually made you a better person.

Even though there can be some potential benefits to experiencing anxiety, it can also become a real hindrance to many aspects of your life. Your career, relationships, and personal aspirations may be negatively affected by your struggle with anxiety. If anxiety is preventing you from living the life you desire, than it may be time to get professional help. Your doctor or therapist will be able to determine if your symptoms meet the criteria of an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or social anxiety disorder (SAD). Additionally, he will be able to assist in creating a treatment plan that can help you better cope with your anxiety. 

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