Does anxiety make you smarter?

Well “smarter” being the key word here. It’s a logical leap to say that those with anxiety experience a broad range of emotions so proclaiming emotional intelligence isn’t such a stretch. Actual intelligence/being smarter is often equated to problem solving but navigating complex emotional situations does require a high degree of intelligence. It’s not a topic I have explored a great deal on this blogs anxiety postings but I found a good article here that discusses it more broadly.

From the article: “Do everything you can to avoid situations that might feel stressful, or embarrassing, or a little scary, and then you’ll be less able to deal effectively with those emotions when they do occur. New research backs up that position. A 2021 study found that engaging in a variety of daily activities correlated with experiencing a broader range of emotions, and with it increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction.”

Now that in of itself isn’t a controversial statement. The article doesn’t get to deep into specifics in the prose but it has citations to three different studies supporting the claims made which are pretty decent. The article really reinforces the notion that we all have to be “out there” anyway and emotional intelligence translates into a broader perspective of life which lends itself to a greater ability to muster wisdom. At its core that’s what the article is trying to impart and it achieves it.

This is making my stomach hurt.

For those of us with anxiety it’s challenging to correlate our responses to intelligence. We have been conditioned for decades to equate anxiety as a negative attribute. To assume something is wrong with us if we feel uncomfortable etc. Now there is a fine line and this is what REALLY happens when you go down the anxiety rabbit hole is you discover that anxiety itself is natural and is a gateway to intelligence. The trick is there is no universal threshold it is dependent on the individual based on their accumulation of anxiety over the years.

Simply put, I may have no problem driving in the snow. You might have been in an accident in snow and are far more anxious about it. Do you gain more intelligence then I do from driving in the snow? These are simple concepts but it’s important to make sure we improve our narratives and context on anxiety, and equating anxiety with increased intelligence is a good start.

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