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Anxiety is one of the most common psychological afflictions in America. But a surprising amount of research suggests that it doesn’t have to be. We can’t make anxiety disappear — but we might be able to transform it into a kind of superpower.
In any year, roughly 20% of American adults have an anxiety disorder. Nearly a third of us will deal with this affliction at some point in our lives. And things only seem to be getting worse. Prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications have soared, while polling finds Americans saying their mental health has declined.
Yet not all the news is bad. In fact, a deeper look at the research suggests anxiety can actually be a useful tool — if we know how to properly harness it.
As many psychologists point out, anxiety is hardwired into us by millions of years of evolution … for good reason. It makes us more vigilant against threats and increases our ability to solve problems.
As a result, learning how to properly manage anxiety can have transformative power. Whether it’s overcoming a fear of public speaking, combatting PTSD, or — no joke — making repairs to the International Space Station, you may be shocked to learn what happens when anxiety is repurposed into a tool.Published in