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While Anxiety Feels Terrible, It Has an Upside

Here's how to make it work in your favor

These days, there’s a lot to be anxious about. Between losing loved ones and experiencing financial strain to family stress and fears about illness, many of us are struggling more than ever. In a 2021 survey of more than 3,000 adults, 47 percent reported feeling anxious, and 57 percent of Black adults said they worried about their future. In addition, 54 percent of essential workers admitted to drinking alcohol and overeating to ease their emotional pain.

Anyone who’s experienced anxiety knows the distress it can bring. Often, this spiky emotion causes a racing heart, headache and knotted stomach. Frequently, we interpret these sensations as a danger sign. For instance, we might mistake social anxiety as evidence that everyone dislikes us or believe performance anxiety means we’re actually impostors.

While anxiety certainly feels terrible, it does have an upside. In her new book, Good Anxiety, neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki repositions anxiety as a potentially positive force in our lives that can open the door to self-care and resilience—two things that inoculate us from stress. From this vantage point, social jitters might be a sign to reach out for support, while performance woes might be a signal to practice our craft a little more or spend two minutes in a power pose. When we realize anxiety can be a helpful messenger, we can make it work in ways that benefit our psychological well-being.

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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