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New Study Reveals Worrying Has Its Benefits, So Don’t Stress About Your Stress

What if we told you worrying had its benefits?

Your stomach muscles would probably tighten, your palms would get sweaty and — like yours truly — you’d worry if the amount of worrying you’re doing is the correct amount of worrying that results in positive benefits thanks to the so-called upside of worrying.

Yikes! It’s a lot to absorb, so take some deep breaths as we let you in on a couple of secrets.

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According to a new study from Kate Sweeny, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, being a nervous nelly doesn’t have to result in negative outcomes.

In fact, her research study is titled, “The surprising upsides of worry.”

Starting to feel a bit better?

Well, you should be slightly more at ease.

After all, Sweeny says, “Despite its negative reputation, not all worry is destructive or even futile.”

Look at it from one of the study’s main focal points: Stress acts as a motivator.

“Worry can motivate proactive efforts to assemble a ready-made set of responses in the case of bad news,” Sweeny says.

Let’s say you’re nervous about an impending job interview. Fair enough — it could very well be a decision that changes your entire life.

With a little extra attention and thoughtful preparation, there’s a very good chance the interview could go the way you’d like.

There are those who wait till the last minute and don’t stress until they’re actually in their potential boss’s office, worrying because they didn’t do an ounce of preparation.


Stress also acts as a buffer.

“Worry can serve as an emotional buffer by providing a desirable contrast to later affective reactions,” Sweeny continues.

Let’s say you’re freaking out about that first date you think is going to go horribly wrong.

When things turn out better than expected — he’s kind and doesn’t chew with his mouth open — you’ll feel even better since you originally thought you were doomed.

If you’re still unconvinced, remember this: “Worry involves focus on future negative events.”

Don’t worry on something that hasn’t happened — accept the challenge, prepare and just do you. It’ll all be OK.

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CITATIONS Wiley Online Library
  1. Wiley Online Library

    The surprising upsides of worry

Danielle Valente

Digital Editor

Danielle is part of the Elite Daily news team. When she's not working, she's usually reading or eating gnocchi at Frankie's. Find her @dvwrites.
Danielle is part of the Elite Daily news team. When she's not working, she's usually reading or eating gnocchi at Frankie's. Find her @dvwrites.

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