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Description: OK here is an exercise in hypothesis generation. Worry and the anxiety and stress potentially associated with it are all bad right? Well, think about possible ways in which worry might be of psychological benefit to us. How would you design a study (ethically) to test your hypotheses? Once you have your thoughts in order on these questions have read through the article linked below which describes a recent psychology study in this area.

Source: The Upsides of Worry, Rick Nauert, PsycCentral.

Date: April 28, 2017

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Links:  Article Link —

So perhaps there were no real surprises for you in the article. Worry is motivating. What we do when or after we worry can make many positive contributions to our wellbeing.  It can help us recover from traumatic events. It can help us avoid future traumatic events. It can help us to remember to do healthy things like exercise or use sunscreen. The motivating effects of worry are manifold. So perhaps worry deserves a bit more psychological respect that it has typically been afforded.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. In what ways might worry be seen as a good thing?
  2. What sorts of limits are there on the “goodness” of worry?
  3. What sort of a psychological variable is worry or at least how should we think about worry as we design research studies or think about ways to help people manage their lives and wellbeing psychologically?

References (Read Further):

Bower, B. (2013). The bright side of sadness: Bad moods can have unappreciated mental upsides. Science News, 184(9), 18-21.

Sweeny, Kate and Dooley, Michael D. (2017) The surprising upsides of worry, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11(4).

Fox, E., Dutton, K., Yates, A., Georgiou, G. A., & Mouchlianitis, E. (2015). Attentional control and suppressing negative thought intrusions in pathological worry. Clinical Psychological Science, 3(4), 593-606.