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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One critical mental exercise for those with Anxiety

No articles today, no witty quotes, I’m just going to share with you a little life experience here. Many of us have full lives. Spouses, In-laws, Children, Friends, Co-Workers, Pets on and on. Some of us have too full of a life, meaning we have so many ways to expend energy and time we often come up short. What does that mean exactly? In short it means we are expanding our mental energy and time on so many different things we are contributing and in some cases making worse our mental health.

“So what is the exercise Karac?”

I do this from time to time, but the exercise is tonight when you are in bed staring at the ceiling before bed, list in your mind the 10 most important people in your life. I mean the people who are really important. These are the people you truly love. Your kids, your spouse, your dad… Make a mental list. Did you even get to 10? I don’t mean people you play cards with on Saturday nights. I mean the real substantive people in your life. This can include pets, it’s imperative that you get clear in your head who is on that list.

Some lists help a lot, some not so much

So the exercise has two parts, it’s the next day do you remember the list? You can write it down if you need to, but the last part of the exercise is you honestly assign to each how much time you spend with each person per week.

I know this sounds silly, but trust me on this. So you got the list of people (10 or under) you have assigned an estimated amount of time you spend with each per week. How many hours (again rough estimate) was it? It’s critical you were honest with your estimate here but you round up to the nearest hour and divide by 168 (the total hours in a week) and you get a %. Was it higher than 50%? Less than 25%?

Remember in that 168 total hours, you sleep, you eat, you go to the bathroom, you go to work, and you drive to the market… It’s critical you were honest with your time allotment estimate to the people on your list. If you were you now know, on average what % of your week to you spend with the people whom are most important to you.

This % changes during holidays etc., but on a normal week that is where you are at. The result of this exercise is the show you how much time you spend with the people who are most important to you. You should be working actively to increase this. If you have anxiety, it’s likely the people on that list (and pets) are super important to you, you may not even have 10 (I have 8 on mine). Whatever your list revealed, it’s your normal. If you continue to do the same things over and over and expect a different result, that’s insanity.

Increase the %, you can do it, one day at a time. Interested in more posts about the value of time? Check out my post here.

One critical mental exercise for those with Anxiety

No articles today, no witty quotes, I’m just going to share with you a little life experience here. Many of us have full lives. Spouses, In-laws, Children, Friends, Co-Workers, Pets on and on. Some of us have too full of a life, meaning we have so many ways to expend energy and time we often come up short. What does that mean exactly? In short it means we are expanding our mental energy and time on so many different things we are contributing and in some cases making worse our mental health.

“So what is the exercise Karac?”

I do this from time to time, but the exercise is tonight when you are in bed staring at the ceiling before bed, list in your mind the 10 most important people in your life. I mean the people who are really important. These are the people you truly love. Your kids, your spouse, your dad… Make a mental list. Did you even get to 10? I don’t mean people you play cards with on Saturday nights. I mean the real substantive people in your life. This can include pets, it’s imperative that you get clear in your head who is on that list.

Some lists help a lot, some not so much

So the exercise has two parts, it’s the next day do you remember the list? You can write it down if you need to, but the last part of the exercise is you honestly assign to each how much time you spend with each person per week.

I know this sounds silly, but trust me on this. So you got the list of people (10 or under) you have assigned an estimated amount of time you spend with each per week. How many hours (again rough estimate) was it? It’s critical you were honest with your estimate here but you round up to the nearest hour and divide by 168 (the total hours in a week) and you get a %. Was it higher than 50%? Less than 25%?

Remember in that 168 total hours, you sleep, you eat, you go to the bathroom, you go to work, and you drive to the market… It’s critical you were honest with your time allotment estimate to the people on your list. If you were you now know, on average what % of your week to you spend with the people whom are most important to you.

This % changes during holidays etc., but on a normal week that is where you are at. The result of this exercise is the show you how much time you spend with the people who are most important to you. You should be working actively to increase this. If you have anxiety, it’s likely the people on that list (and pets) are super important to you, you may not even have 10 (I have 8 on mine). Whatever your list revealed, it’s your normal. If you continue to do the same things over and over and expect a different result, that’s insanity.

Increase the %, you can do it, one day at a time. Interested in more posts about the value of time? Check out my post here.