You’re out the door on time this morning. Well done. But then out of nowhere (and right as your new favorite podcast is getting good), you get this nagging feeling: Did you remember to turn off your straightener? Of course you did, you tell yourself. Or did you? Before you know it, you’re in a worry tailspin and making a U-turn just to go back and double check (and now you’re super late for work, and start worrying about that, too).
It’s OK, there’s an upside: All that worrying can actually be good for you, according to a recent study published in the academic journal Social Psychology and Personality Compass.
Here’s why: Worry is motivating, per the researchers. In fact, it puts a situation—like the hair straightener you potentially forgot to turn off—front of mind to the point that you can’t rest until appropriate action is taken to resolve it. (Cue the trip home to put your mind at ease.) But worry also softens the blow of a potentially bad outcome (like the fact that a towel in your bathroom got scorched) and enhances your reaction if things turn out OK. (Yay, it’s off and the house didn’t burn down!)
More importantly, worry makes you a better planner so this type of thing doesn’t happen again.
So? Stop worrying about worrying. You got this.