The concern has a positive side – the scientists

Care useful. In his new article, Professor of psychology at the University of California Kate Sweeney argues that the concern there is another, positive side. Despite its negative reputation, anxiety is not always destructive. It also has motivational benefits, and sometimes it acts as an emotional “safety cushion”, writes

In my last article, Sweeney reveals the role of anxiety in the motivational, preventive and protective behavior and explains how it helps us to avoid unpleasant situations. Sweeney believes that anxiety is associated with recovery after traumatic events, adaptive preparation and planning, and recovery from depression. Moreover, people who often feel intense anxiety, often better perform the tasks (at school or in the workplace), searching for and finding more information in response to stressful events and better solution to many problems.

Anxiety as a motivator

Scientists have studied the motivational force of the concern and discovered its relationship to preventive healthy behavior, for example, with the use of seat belts. In one study, it has been proven that anxiety about the possibility of skin cancer motivates people to use sunscreen. This anxiety causes people to be surveyed in hospitals to monitor health status and to undergo regular mammograms.

There are examples of a more subtle relationship between anxiety and preventive behavior. Women who reported moderate anxiety, compared to women experiencing relatively low or high levels of anxiety, often make screening for cancer. It seems that too strong or weak, anxiety can hinder motivation, while moderate, on the contrary, motivates, is not driving the person into a stupor.

There are three explanations for the motivating effect of anxiety:

– Anxiety is a signal that the situation is serious and requires action. People use their emotions as a source of information when making judgments and decisions;

The concern about the stressor (the factor that causes stress) keeps the stress on the foreground of consciousness and motivates people to action;

– Unpleasant feeling of anxiety motivates people to find ways to reduce it.
Even if efforts to prevent unwanted results useless, anxiety can push to active actions to search for “plan B” in case of bad news.

Concern as a “safety cushion”

The concern, fulfilling the role of emotional guide might be useful for emotional state. Amid the anxiety, any other emotion looks more contrasting. In other words, the pleasure derived from a good experience is enhanced if it is preceded by a bad experience.

If anxiety about the future the result is quite strong and unpleasant emotional response to the result you ultimately will experience will seem more enjoyable in comparison with the previous alarm condition.

The Sweeney study confirms the role of anxiety as an “emotional airbag”. As people are preparing for the worst, they are pessimistic look at the situation to alleviate potential frustration, which, in turn, can strengthen the enthusiasm or joy, if everything goes well. Thus, both joyful and anxious people get emotional win after the situation is resolved.