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Positive Effects of Anxiety

By Jerry Shaw ; Updated August 14, 2017

Anxiety results from stress, which occasionally happens to people because of problems involving work, family, financial or other matters. Anxiety can develop into a serious disorder if it continues for a long period, but anxiety also brings about positive effects that help people deal with unavoidable negative issues that happen in everyday life.


Positive effects of anxiety include alerting people to impending danger, according to the Anxiety Support Network. People might feel uncomfortable when certain situations arise and can avoid negative consequences because of anxiety. Anxiety can warn them to leave or ignore conditions that cause tempers to flare and result in arguments or physical conflict. People also might realize they should avoid walking down a street or near a location where trouble might await them, such as an area where criminal activity might take place. Bothersome thoughts create the anxiety that helps people steer clear of potential harmful situations.


Anxiety produces motivation. When something troubling occurs, people become motivated to do whatever they can to overcome the problem. Getting to a safe place when danger lurks helps people avoid injury. When a fire starts in a building, anxiety develops and people act quickly to reach safety. Some people might become overanxious, which can lead to further problems, but many people use their anxiety constructively and even help others form a protective shield against a threat. People who need to exit a building can assist one another and everyone benefits from the action brought on by anxiety.


Physical reactions that stem from anxiety also can help people. The fight-or-flight response created from anxiety makes people either confront a situation or flee to safety. Sweating, heavy breathing and rapid heartbeat can occur during an anxious situation, but the body also produces a surge of adrenaline to make people stronger, the Anxiety Support Network notes. It allows people to accomplish things they did not think possible, such as running faster or moving heavy objects to help themselves or others.


Stress increases the levels of the brain chemicals known as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which help relax people during uncomfortable times. Competition, whether among athletes or coworkers, can produce anxiety, but the anxiety only helps them make plans or aim for goals to achieve successful results. The competition often becomes fun.


Test anxiety can help students confront their anxiety to avoid failure, according to the University at Buffalo Counseling Services. They can overcome their fear of failure by focusing on an exam and the actions needed to pass the test. They might study harder because of the anxiety and feel more confident because of the information they gather. When the test is taken, they can use positive self-statements to convince themselves that the test is not as difficult as they thought it would be, and feel pleased with what they have learned.

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