We all know that worrying is bad for our health! Worry amps up our anxieties, increases stress, exhausts our brain, and sends our nervous system into overdrive. That twisting in your stomach and knotting of your muscles definitely can’t be good for you, right? Well, that’s not always true… It’s very clear that chronic worrying (like chronic anything, really) is bad for you. But did you know that worry is actually VERY useful? Worry keeps us alive. At least, it definitely did during the caveman days, when something as simple as an afternoon stroll could end with you being eaten by a predator. Worry is hardwired into our minds—it’s survival instinct at its simplest, and it’s what helps us remain aware of the many threats around us. Worry makes us more efficient. We worry certain things—IMPORTANT things—aren’t going to get done, so we do them first to make sure they actually get done. Worry helps us to prioritize all the tasks that need to be accomplished in the day, so we are more effective at checking items off our to-do list because of it. Worry leads to problem-solving. “Necessity is the mother of invention” is absolutely true—even more so when you’re afraid for your life, health, safety, and comfort! Worry kicks off our problem-solving brain, and it’s the first step down the path to finding the answer. It sets our analytic minds in motion and helps us to be more effective at reaching the desired solution before the dreaded outcome comes to pass. Worry kicks us up a notch. If you never worried, you’d never feel that rush of energy you get when you’re reaching a deadline. It’s only because of worry that you feel the burst of adrenaline to finish that homework assignment, write that last sentence, or complete that project just before the deadline. Worry gets a bad rap, simply because most of the time, we never get past the worrying stage. We spend so much time worrying and fretting that our anxieties can paralyze us, and we never move on to the problem-solving stage. That’s what chronic worrying really is! You spend all your time worrying about and trying to avoid trouble that you don’t actually do anything about it. And that’s when worrying is bad. But as you’ve seen above, worry can actually be a good thing—it’s our brain’s way of telling us, “All right, here’s a problem in front of us.” Once you see the problem, you can take steps to solve it. So next time you start worrying, don’t shut down the worries! Instead, use them to help you take those first steps down the problem-solving journey. Worry your way to a better outcome.