If you're a chronic worrier, here's what you should know about your brain.

I worry a lot. I worry about my friends, my health, my planet. Heck, I worry about worrying too much.

Image from iStock.

It can keep me up at night wondering whether I've ruined my shoes by buying shoe polish, or it can make me read that one email 10 times before sending it off. It can be tempting to hate my brain for worrying so much.


Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh on myself. Every human being worries. And it turns out, worrying can have some surprising upsides, as professor Kate Sweeny recently wrote. So if you're the kind of person who worries about worrying, here are two big things to remember, courtesy of Sweeny:

1. Worrying is a track coach, keeping our brains active and motivated.

Image from iStock.

Nobody would hate their brains for making them feel scared when there's a big, obvious danger. Like an angry tiger. Or a bear. Or an angry tiger riding a bear. In that case, we need an immediate motivator for an immediate problem.

But our brains need a subtler response to subtler problems. Worry and anxiety can help our brains recognize and focus on long-term problems or motivate us to make better choices, like wearing our seat belts or applying sunscreen to avoid skin cancer.

2. Worrying is an emotional cushion, making our highs higher and lows not as bad.

Image from iStock.

Though worrying itself is unpleasant, it can help balance out our other emotions. One study showed the BBC television sitcom "Fawlty Towers" got funnier after watching a tense horror movie.

On the flip side, if things end up going south, your brain has already prepared itself. So worrying can be an emotional win-win.

But like all things, there's a right amount.

While a little worry can help us stay motivated, too much can paralyze us and can be a sign of anxiety disorders. If that's what's going on, taking a break from Facebook, practicing meditation, exercising, and talking with a therapist can all help reduce anxiety.

So, biologically, don't hate your brain for worrying.

Worry can be stressful. It's not fun to stay awake thinking about what you're going to say to your boss on Monday, whether you're eating right, or whether you're being a good friend. You might find yourself beset by worries at the worst time.

And that's OK. We can't always control our brains, but we worrywarts don't always need to feel bad for worrying. Sometimes it's our brain just helping us out.

True

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Marcos Alberti's "3 Glasses" project began with a joke and a few drinks with his friends.

The photo project originally depicted Alberti's friends drinking, first immediately after work and then after one, two, and three glasses of wine.

But after Imgur user minabear circulated the story, "3 Glasses" became more than just a joke. In fact, it went viral, garnering more than 1 million views and nearly 1,800 comments in its first week. So Alberti started taking more pictures and not just of his friends.

Keep Reading Show less
via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

Keep Reading Show less