The Higher Your Anxiety, The Higher Your IQ (Says Study)

Have anxiety? You might be too smart.

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If you're like me, you think a little too much. Your thoughts and ideas swirl around so much in your mind that it can be hard to get much done, and it results in anxiety. Relax.

According to a study reported in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, excessive worry isn't always a bad thing. In some cases, it could mean you have a high IQ.

For those who experience anxiety, some bells of recognition might be ringing right now.


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"It occurred to me that if you happen to have a preponderance of negatively hued self-generated thoughts ... and you also have a tendency to switch to panic sooner than average people ... that means you can experience intense negative emotions, even when there's no threat present," said Dr. Adam Perkins, an expert in neurobiology of personality at King's College in London.

"This could mean that for specific neural reasons, high scorers on neuroticism have a highly active imagination, which acts as a built-in threat generator," Perkins continued.


"Cheerful, happy-go-lucky people by definition do not brood about problems and must be at a disadvantage when problem-solving, compared to a more neurotic person," he continued.

"...It is easy to observe that many geniuses seem to have a brooding, unhappy tendency that hints they are fairly high on the neuroticism spectrum.

For example, think of ... Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain."

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Dr. Jeremy Coplan, a researcher and professor of psychiatry at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, weighed in as well.

"Although we tend to view anxiety as not being good for us, it is linked with intelligence — a highly adaptive trait."

Coplan says that high levels of anxiety can be disabling, and patients' worries are often irrational, but that "every so often there's a wild-card danger. Then, that excessive worry becomes highly adaptive."

Coplan also notes that people "who act on the signals of that wild-card danger are likely to preserve their lives and the lives of their offspring." 

So, there you go. Your feelings of anxiety may actually be the key to the survival of humanity.


Not to, you know, stress you out or anything.

RELATED: 20 Super Subtle Signs Of Anxiety That You Might Not Immediately Recognize (But Should!)