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The Advantages of Being… Anxious!

Updated: May 28




You don’t often hear Anxiety spoken about in positive terms.


Instead, it’s most commonly explained in the language of ‘problems’ or ‘issues.’


This overriding narrative that anxiety is something that needs to be ‘fixed,’ is something I’ve never particularly questioned, nor ever felt implored to.


Maybe it’s because to some extent, I somewhat agree with the rhetoric.


Anxiety is a beast!!


The worst kind of fun-sponge, at best… and the dodgiest of life-derailing dealers at worst.


It’s the ‘bad influence’ which coerces its hosts away from so much of what could be deemed ‘healthy’… with not so much of a hint of remorse for the pleasure!


That said, I’ve always had an inkling that there might be some small, sliver of recompense to be gleaned, for being a ‘worrier not a warrior.’


It’s the hope that there might be some dividends to the drudge, that makes the weight of it all worth carrying.


If I’m right, and there are some redeeming features to all my (once-endless) ruminating and catastrophising, then maybe anxiety ISN’T something I need to be extricated from after all (or at least not entirely.)


This inkling was bolstered recently, by actress Emma Stone’s unlikely admission that she felt ‘lucky’ to live with anxiety.


Yes, LUCKY!


Her rationale, was that anxiety is ‘activating,’ and can actually - in some regards - be sparing of a worse kind of fate.


A kind of fate where the mind is still… but any benefits of this are cancelled out, by the resultant inertia.


Perhaps… perhaps, therefore, anxiety is an antidote to apathy, indifference and a whole host of other 'meh'-shaped symptoms that can breed in the absence of all that neural over-activity!


The key here isn’t to downplay the very real down-sides of debilitating anxiety, nor champion an attitude of acceptance to the condition. Therapy and ‘doing the work’ are essential, more often than they are not.


However, it’s consoling to think that the purpose of all this, might not be to squash the anxious tendencies per se, but rather to find meaningful and effective ways of leveraging them to our advantage.


I don’t want to lapse into platitudes of ‘superpowers’, or ‘strengths from weaknesses , for that doesn’t sit quite so well as the idea that it might be…a 'secret sauce', perhaps?


Or a USP, maybe, born out of the most unlikely of ingredients (discomfort, dread and a runaway imagination, to name but a few!) and which is misunderstood by the many, but appreciated by the few.



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