The Big Questions

Life, death and free will.

When Worrying Works

Does worrying always hurt us? Read More

This highlights the either/or

This highlights the either/or mindset that many people tend to live by and additionally proves its inadequacies.
As we tend to think of worrying/anxiety as bad then we want to get rid of it and replace it with something that makes us feel good - but if you can get to a place whereby the worry is giving us a message and subsequently a possible requirement to act upon that message then worry/anxiety can be very useful and highly informative. The fact that the worry/anxiety exist doesn't necessarily prevent you from taking any action, but can motivate you into taking action in order to prevent or steer away from the thing that you are worrying about coming into fruition.

Rather than referring to the emotions as chronic (which implies 'bad') somebody who is highly sensitive to their emotions can also have a wider range of feeling capabilities. Of course this is where people will say you're too sensitive, too anxious, too emotional etc etc, because the emotions and feelings that they experience are more limited and hence they have no understanding of how somebody could feel distraught by the same situation that barely concerns them.

'Results also indicated that people in the studies were generally unaware of the influence emotion was having on their performance.'

Sadly this is unsurprising - most people's awareness of their 'self' is pretty basic and bordering on the robotic - if people could feel the pain and anguish that I can feel in certain situations, and other highly sensitive and empathic people can feel, then I think things would change on a global level very very quickly. If a soldier could feel the dying pangs of an 'enemy' they have just shot it would very likely make them reconsider killing.

Understanding versus the brainwashed parrot

The difficulty lies in ones perception of 'worry'. If it is aligned with anxiety then its effectiveness is limited to the fight or flight response. If it is aligned with covering all the bases in a situation it is rational until becoming obsessive. We then need to address the underlying obsession disorder and the 'worry' is irrelevant.
The author correctly identifies emotions as 'feelings' but then attempts to give credence to cognitive function formed by them. In reality such function is merely an interpretation based upon ones belief system. As the belief system is always flawed then the resultant cognition will be flawed too.'Neuroticism' is a condition that warrants attention and cannot be considered a personal trait, to do so is to minimize a serious problem and ignore its underlying origin. The determination and resolution of such origin is a major aspect of psychotherapy.
One is also better to avoid the use of the words 'good and bad' and 'positive and negative' as they are extremely subjective parts of ones belief system and not accurate reflections of reality (I will add that chronic in no way implies bad as suggested).

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Nathan Heflick completed his Ph.D. in social psychology at The University of South Florida.


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