A new study finds an upside to your fretting.
I think my mom has said that at least twice in every conversation we've ever had. I've always been a worrier. I've even worried over the fact that I'm a worrier. I'd say it's gotten better over time as I've found better stress-relief techniques (sup, spinning?), but I'm definitely still one to overthink.
Sometimes it's totally irrational, like OMG what if the stove magically turned itself back on after I turned it off and left the apartment? And other times, it's rehashing past events that keeps me up at night. Was I too nervous on that interview? Did I have enough fun on that vacation? Did I take that guy for granted?
I know it's silly to stress about the past or the things that haven't happened yet (and maybe even won't) but sometimes I'll justify it by saying it keeps me on my toes—it makes me focused, perceptive, trying to improve. I'd rather be someone that gives a sh*t about things—even if one of those things is preventing my apartment from burning down. Isn't it better to care than not care?
Turns out, all this freaking out does have an upside. (Thank you, science) According to a study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, it's actually a sign of certain intelligence.
After researchers gave 126 undergrads surveys to measure both their intelligence and how much they stressed over events in their lives, they found a link between worrying and verbal intelligence.
On the other hand, they also found that the more respondents replayed past events over in their minds, the lower they ranked on non-verbal intelligence. OK, so it looks like you're not a complete genius from all your fretting.
Why's that? According to lead researcher, Alexander Penney, people who are verbally intelligent fixate on past and future events in greater detail, leading to more intense dwelling, while non-verbally intelligent people are better at processing what happened in the moment, so they don't need to re-think events in their heads after.
So there you have it, fellow worrywarts. If you were worried about all your worrying, be assured that there is a benefit. Now, that's something you can relax over.