For those of us who've lost countless hours of sleep to anxiety, it can be hard to imagine what about the condition could possibly be good. But some researchers and philosophers have argued just that, pointing out that those of us who experience anxiety are often just plain better at some things in life. Even if we aren't the most well-rested.
Mental Health Awareness Week happens every October, giving us all a chance to talk about anxiety.
Anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion that can come up when we experience fear. But, like depression, this otherwise normal emotion can also be a disorder that wreaks havoc on people’s lives.
There are a lot of perfectly reasonable things to be anxious about right now.
There’s certainly no shortage of bad news every single day, throwing open a Pandora’s box of worry for practically everyone. But those who suffer from an anxiety disorder often can’t escape the overwhelming feelings of worry and tension that consume their lives. Some form of treatment is usually required.
But some experts are now saying anxiety doesn't have to be all bad.
Though it’s generally considered a negative emotion — a version of fear, basically — there are apparently reasons to appreciate being an anxious person. Reasons you now have to read about or else you’ll just worry about them all day.
Philosophers have long grappled with the upside of anxiety.
As Simon Wolfe Taylor, author of The Conquest of Dread: Anxiety From Kierkegaard to Xanax told Quartz :
“Kierkegaard says anxiety sucks, it’s really horrible and one of the most agonizing things you can go through, but you cannot be a creative, imaginative human being without anxiety. That’s the cost of entry for being that kind of a person.”
So hopefully at least some of your sleepless nights result in great ideas?
While there are many effective modern treatment options for those overwhelmed by anxiousness, some older remedies could be helpful as well.
Taylor noted that in the past, people who suffered from anxious thoughts were often directed to read great works of literature or the Bible. Which might sound like just another thing to worry about, and certainly there are plenty of fresh anxieties to be found in the Bible (how many anxiety sufferers of the past started building large boats in the middle of the night?). But Taylor argues there may still be merit in this method.