Are you a worrier? It could make you happier

By Stephen Matthews

Worrying may help you to recover from stressful experiences, prevent a range of illnesses and may even keep you happy. Photo / Getty Images
Worrying may help you to recover from stressful experiences, prevent a range of illnesses and may even keep you happy. Photo / Getty Images

If you're someone who worries a lot, this will be great to hear.

Concerning yourself about the smallest things in life isn't as bad for your health as first thought, a psychologist claims.

Instead, it may keep you happy by acting as a motivator - despite years of research showing it makes the body weaker, reports Daily Mail.

By bracing yourself for the worst in any scenario, you are often protected when what you were worried about doesn't happen.

This allows you to stay positive and even motivates you, says Professor Kate Sweeny, of the University of California, Riverside.

She said: "Despite its negative reputation, not all worry is destructive or even futile.

It has motivational benefits, and it acts as an emotional buffer.

"Worry can motivate proactive efforts to assemble a ready-made set of responses in the case of bad news.

"I don't intend to advocate for excessive worrying. Instead, I hope to provide reassurance to the helpless worrier."

Writing in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass, Professor Sweeny noted three possible explanations for worry's motivating effects.

People use their emotions when making decisions, and worry serves as a cue that the situation is serious, she said.

While it also keeps a stressor at the front of their mind, prompting them into doing something about what's bothering them.

The third reason could be due to the unpleasant feeling it creates pushing people to find ways to reduce their worry.

Worry can also benefit one's emotional state by serving as an emotional bench-mark, Professor Sweeny added.

Compared to the negative feelings of worry, any other feeling is deemed pleasurable by contrast.

In her paper, she likened worry to that of using a seat belt in terms of its preventative health benefits.

She pointed to a previous study that found those who worry about skin cancer were more likely to use sunscreen.

While other research has found women worried about breast cancer reported self-examining themselves more often.

- Daily Mail

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