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Apr 29, 2017 01:05 PM EDT

A professor from the University of California - Riverside has found that worrying has a positive side. Apparently, even with its negative reputation, not all worry can be destructive or futile.

Kate Sweeny, who teaches Psychology in UC Riverside, said that worrying can have motivational benefits. It can also act as an emotional buffer.

Her latest article, entitled "The Upside of Worrying," was published in the journal "Social and Personality Psychology Compass." She detailed the role of worry in motivating preventive and protective behavior as well as how it helps people avoid unpleasant events.

Worry, as described in the paper, is described as an aversive emotional experience that comes with repetitive unpleasant thoughts about the future. Sweeny, who worked on the project with UC Riverside graduate student Michael D. Dooley, argued that worry has an upside even if its extreme levels brings with it depressed mood, poor physical health and even mental illness.

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The researchers found that worry is associated with recovery from traumatic events, adaptive preparation and planning, recovery from depression as well as partaking in activities that promote health and prevent illness. Moreover, individuals who report greater worry may even perform better, whether in school or at their workplace. Those who worry more are also said to seek more information in response to stressful events and they engage in more successful problem solving.

Worry became a motivator for women who reported moderate amounts of worry since they are more likely to get screened for a particular disease, which was cancer in this case. Those who reported low or high levels of worry were less likely to go have themselves checked.

On the other hand, worry became a buffer or an emotional bench-mark since individuals who brace for the worst may feel more pleasure if the situation they are worrying about did not occur. Worrying heightens the pleasure that comes from a good experience if preceded by a bad experience.

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