Science Says Start Worrying About Your Worrying

Those who obsess over their relationships are only making them worse

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Neurotics who obsess over inane minutiae have another thing to worry about: how much they're worrying. A study from Case Western University finds that excessive worriers not only hurt themselves but also alienate their peers. A person's mental anxiety interferes with their relationship. Not only do worriers push away their friends and loved ones, but the overly concerned also face other health issues. So stop worrying! Science says so!

Worriers justify their mental obsessions claiming their anxious thoughts translate into real world progress. For example, people tend to worry about their families and friends. They think this magically improves their relationships. "The negative methods they use to cope--from over nurturing to extreme detachment--may be destructive," the study finds.

As worriers destroy their personal lives, they put themselves at risk for other un-fun health problems. Notice how your heart feels like its moving a million miles a minute as you obsess over tomorrow's PowerPoint presentation? Worrying specifically, compared to other types of stress, increases your heart rate, a study in the Journal of Behavior Medicine finds. Another links worrying to heart disease, "exaggerated activity in the cingulate cortex during mental stress may generate excessive rises in blood pressure that may place some individuals at a greater risk for heart disease."

It can also make you physically ill--headaches, nausea, dizziness, and twitching are just some of the possible responses that WebMD lists.

But worriers, don't freak out quite yet. Some say a little worrying has its benefits. An 80-year study found that a wee bit of stress has positive career impacts, researchers from the Longevity Project told The Atlantic.

"Take it easy; don't work so hard, and you will stay healthier." This is rotten advice—the stress that comes from an ambitious career can be beneficial to health. "Worrying is very bad for your health." This is not all true. We found lots of instances where worrying was healthy, especially for men.

Ok, so you can channel a little Woody Allen, sometimes. But, don't go full out neurotic, you could hurt yourself.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.