The Function of Anxiety

I go to work so I can buy shoes.


I mean, there’s a lot of other steps in there. I do enjoy work and I must pay my rent before I buy shoes, but ultimately, I work for shoes.

We all do things for a reason. There are functions or purposes to everything we do. A baby cries

because they need something, and the purpose of their crying is to meet whatever their need is. We go to school to get an education that will get us the career we want that will in turn get us the lifestyle we want, etc. etc. We do things to please other people, to please ourselves, to feed our egos, to ob

ey laws. Typically, people don’t go commit crimes for no reason…there’s always a reason!!

So with that…there must be a function for our anxiety. There must be some need or purpose that anxiety is filling, or else we would not have anxiety, right?!

The Metacognitive theory which is backed by a large amount of research and support suggest that people have positive and negative beliefs about worrying. I don’t think I need to explain to anyone the negative parts of worrying…but have you ever thought of the function of your worry? Of the positive effects it might have?

…People often see worrying as a useful way of coping

…or as a way to “prepare” themselves in case something bad happens

…or as a motivation for themselves.

The Metacognitive theory suggests that people hold on to anxiety because of the positive beliefs about it like the ones listed above. This theory suggests that people often worry about NOT worrying because then they wouldn’t be as motivated or prepared. This theory has a lot of support as to WHY we have anxiety…but what does this tell us about our anxiety?

What this tells me is that we need to start letting go of some of our positive beliefs about anxiety. If we let go of the belief that our worry is a useful way of coping, if we took away that function of the anxiety, would we be able to let go of our anxiety?

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