A Bit of Worry is Good

There so much to be anxious about nowadays. According to the World Bank, the world is in a recession and COVID-19 is not only keeping a lot of people in poverty but creating a new class of poor. The adverse economic effects may already be affecting you. Stuff you weren’t worried about a year ago might be taking center stage in your life now.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is a Grammy Award-winning song by Bobby McFerrin. What would you think if you were told you can worry and be happy? You’d be skeptical, but honestly, this can be true for anybody. So, how about you turn the tables on anxiety? All you need to do is modify your thoughts and practice emotional intelligence.

The causes and effects of worry

There are medical conditions that give rise to anxiety. It’s not limited to the mind. A doctor may prescribe treatment that includes medication. On the other hand, external factors can cause anxiety. Stress at work, uncertainty, financial difficulties and relationships are examples. If left unchecked, these can dictate how you live your life.

Sleepless nights, lack of focus, compulsiveness, nervousness, headaches and stomach pains are signs of an anxious person. In extreme cases, too much worry can become paralyzing. But, as you already know, inaction or reacting poorly to a situation often results from the mishandling of anxiety.

How you deal with anxiety matters

People cope with worries differently. Emotionally intelligent persons recognize the signs when they become anxious. They do not ignore their emotions but rather take stock of what they are feeling. Understanding leads to proper management of their worries. Here’s how they respond to anxiety.

  • Anxiety as a Warning
    People have a built-in warning system primarily for survival. This can be traced back all the way to early humans. People with high EQ recognize that their anxiety might be telling them to exercise caution. Also, it might be alerting them to entirely avoid an act or a situation. How many times have you stopped yourself from entering a dark alley or an unknown environment because you started feeling apprehensive?
  • Anxiety as Motivation
    Everyone worries about their health, especially during this pandemic. Emotionally intelligent people use anxiety as motivation. As a result, they exercise, observe health protocols and watch closely what they eat. They also motivate others to do the same.

    A survey of Asian-Pacific countries, published in May 2020, showed that most Vietnamese became more apprehensive because of the current pandemic. On the surface, this looked bad. But, the total COVID-19 cases in that nation were among the lowest in the region. In fact, Vietnam, which shares a long border with China, ranked 165th globally in case counts.

    It’s not a stretch to speculate that extreme worry played a role in driving the Vietnamese to act quickly and take drastic measures to contain the virus. A BBC article even stated that Vietnam’s overreaction saved the country from a full-blown outbreak.

  • Anxiety encourages preparation
    Have you experienced stress before a meeting or an interview? Did it occur to you that you were worried because you were not fully prepared? When anxious, people with high EQ diligently prepare for any activity that has significance to their professional or personal lives. They don’t leave anything to chance.

    Conversely, in the event things don’t go their way, they are prepared for the worst. They accept failure and learn from it. It may even make them more anxious to do better in the future instead of wallowing in misery.

Happy and successful people live with anxiety every day. But, they never let it control their lives. Don’t deny or ignore worry the next time you experience it. Instead, master and seek the good from it.

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