People Who Worry About Everything Are More Intelligent

Updated 05/23/17

Obsessive worry is insidious in the sense that it begets more worry; once your mind switches into "worry mode," essentially, nothing is off limits. What starts as innocuous anxiety about whether or not you left your hair straightener on, for example, can soon spiral into a full-out analysis of your work performance or the last text you sent to the new person you're dating.

If this sounds anything like you, fear not; there's a silver lining. A study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that those who are prone to worry, rumination, and generalized anxiety also scored higher on verbal intelligence tests.

In other words, worrywarts may be better at addressing, analyzing, and solving situations using language-based reasoning. Reading, writing, learning new languages, and speaking or telling stories may be some of their strong suits—skills that may translate into their careers.

To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers analyzed the relationships between generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and social anxiety, as well as their underlying cognitive processes of worry, rumination, and post-event processing. Finally, they examined those findings in relation to verbal and non-verbal intelligence in an undergraduate sample of 126 participants.

So the next time you're rehashing an old conversation in your mind or overanalyzing that meeting with your boss last week, remember that you're also sharpening your critical thinking skills and mentally preparing yourself for future scenarios.

For more, read up on the science-backed ways to stop overthinking things, and share your personal experiences in the comments below!

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