Anxious People Are Smarter People, Says Science

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Anxious People Are Smarter People, Says Science
Self

Anxious people tend to have weird ticks like biting their nails, stuttering, and fidgeting.

But there's an upside: they're apparently smarter than everyone else.

What is anxiety and how can you explain how it feels? Researchers decided to get to the bottom if it.

In 2015, The University in Ontario, Canada conducted a study by surveying 100 students to see how much they worry. They were asked how they agreed with statements like, "I am always worrying about something."

They found that students who have more anxiety tended to also score higher on the verbal intelligence test.

RELATED: What It Feels Like To Have Anxiety And Depression At The Same Time

Not to mention, this isn't the first study on this matter.

In 2012, psychologists from Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya asked 80 students to assess artwork presented by a software program, but were set up by the researchers to activate a computer virus seemingly by accident. An actress then would attempt to get technical support.

The students were told to get technical support and through four more challenges that were meant to be distractions and cause anxiety, the students who were more anxious proved to be the ones who focused on fixing the virus.

When someone is overly stimulated and so anxious about everything, it's easier for them to block out what's going on around them and focus on one task at a time. Therefore, they were able to effectively combat the computer virus.

RELATED: 8 Reasons Anxiety Actually Makes Life Better

Another study also found that worriers sense threats much faster than those who don't have anxiety.

Even Jeremy Coplan, a psychiatrist from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, found that those who have a more severe form of a generalized anxiety disorder have a higher IQ than those who have milder forms of anxiety.

Researchers believe, "A worried mind is a searching mind, and smarter people may have the cognitive agility to examine multiple angles of any situation, for better or worse."

This makes sense because, according to them, "Children who are predisposed to be anxious may be more attentive or diligent in school, for instance, and therefore improve their intelligence. And smart people may find more things to worry about."

Of course, there are exceptions to everything.

There was also a study conducted in 2012 that showed how anxiety negatively impacted IQ. The control group had a higher IQ because they had less to worry about and less anxiety making them uncomfortable.

Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, said, "There are exceptions, obviously, but the basic finding is sound. One explanation for the negative correlation is pretty straightforward: When people are anxious they don't think very clearly."

But there is still a greater belief that anxiety indicates a person's great mental abilities. Even the best thinkers of history, like Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, and Nikola Tesla, had anxiety disorders.

So yes, you may be a worry-wart, but it seems as though your anxiety is a sign of great things to come.

RELATED: 12 Life Skills Only People With Anxiety Can Teach You

Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer. Find her on Twitter for more.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in April 2015 and was updated with the latest information.