3 Healthy Benefits of Anxiety
I sit down at the computer, fingers poised, ideas thought and I go blank. Maybe I have writer’s block but more likely I’m feeling some level of anxiety. Having a story come to life in my imagination and then moving it from my thoughts to my computer is fun… most of the time. When it’s fun there is still some anxiety but this healthy anxiety feels energizing and the thoughts I want to write come to the forefront of my mind while the anxiety moves to the back of my mind. When writing isn’t fun, my anxiety becomes what I focus on and my thoughts become disjointed and impossible to put on paper in any meaningful way.
Anxiety truly can be a catalyst to move us forward or a block that keeps us stuck. Let’s consider three healthy ways our anxiety can point us in the right direction.
- Anxiety can be a great warning sign. It may prevent you from getting into a car for a ride home. It might be the reason you put filters on your computers or have that tough talk with your teenager.
- Anxiety helps your senses become more alive. The nervous energy that can be found right before getting on a roller coaster, riding a raft down some rapids, pulling in a fish, a first date, completing a timed task or watching a sports event helps you remember the event all the more.
- Anxiety can lead to creativity. Think about when you are anxious in an unhealthy way. Your brain conjures up the worst case scenario. You are visualizing something before it actually happens. Creative people have the same process to visualize their contribution to the world. Some create pieces of beautiful artwork, (Vincent Van Gogh), some write music (Jerry Garcia), others make poetry (T. S. Eliot) or build a business (Oprah Winfrey). All of these individuals have openly discussed their anxiety that comes with their creative process.
When you feel your anxiety start, make a conscious decision to use it for your benefit. Don’t immediately try to move away from it. Focus on it, where are you noticing it in your body? What thoughts are coming with it? Did it show up as a warning, to energize you or to spark your creativity?
Whatever the reason, take a minute and thank it for being there. Let it know you appreciate it. Talk to it as you would an old friend and then listen to what your old friend has to say.