Anyone who's ever had to finish a big project before a deadline knows exactly what being anxious feels like (cold sweats, tremors, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach). But as horrible as the experience may seem, psychologists believe it may also hold the key to success and productivity.
While it might sound outrageous, the researchers claim that "a little
anxiety may be just what you need to focus your efforts and perform at
your peak." Here's a little more explanation on how it works, via Wall Street Journal:
"Coaches and sports psychologists have always known that you don't want your athlete to be relaxed right before an event. You need some 'juice' to go fast," says Stephen Josephson, a psychologist in New York City who has treated athletes, actors and musicians.
Obviously, too much of anything good is more likely to be counter productive. And the same can be said about over-anxiety, which can lead to all sorts of debilitating health problems. So it's all about having just the right amount to keep you driven and more focused. Here's how the researchers describe it:
Somewhere between checked out and freaked out lies an anxiety sweet spot, some researchers say, in which a person is motivated to succeed yet not so anxious that performance takes a dive. This moderate amount of anxiety keeps people on their toes, enables them to juggle multiple tasks and puts them on high alert for potential problems.
...It can be tricky to achieve. Some overly optimistic people and those with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder may lack enough anxiety to take action. Others-mostly procrastinating perfectionists-must create anxiety-producing situations in order to get anything done.