Good Anxiety vs. Bad Anxiety

You might think that being anxious is always a bad thing. It’s not. There is “good” anxiety and there is “bad” anxiety. Let’s look at the “good” anxiety first.

When you are mildly anxious about something, you know there is something you need to get done or to avoid. For instance, you know you need to be at work on time. You also know you need to avoid your car hitting a tree. Students study for tests because they are anxious about making a good grade. Employees do their job because they have some anxiety about getting that pay check.

The problem occurs when the little flutter in your stomach that moves you to action becomes a cascade of tension with a racing heart that immobilizes you. Good anxiety gets you moving. Bad anxiety ruins your health, interferes with the joy of life and blocks you from taking action.

Let’s say you have a job interview. “Good” anxiety, that little bit of tension and excitement you feel, will have you prepare for the interview and get you there on time. It will also have you answering the interview questions with confidence.

“Bad” anxiety will keep you from sleeping the night before the interview. You attempt to prepare but nothing will stick in your brain. Your stomach clenches in pain and your heart beats so hard and fast you’re sure the interviewer can hear it. Your hands are sweaty and you break out with perspiration. You stutter, stammer and wish you could run from the room… or perhaps you do.

You could say that “good” anxiety is that edge that keeps you sharp while “bad” anxiety sabotages your every action and ruins your life.

Now, if you want to learn signs and symptoms of the various forms of anxiety, check it here.