Memory and Focus
Another benefit of anxiety is improved memory and ability to focus. When someone is speaking to you, you are inclined to focus and really concentrate on what they are saying. In that moment, the other person has your complete attention.
The advantages of this are numerous, but consider this in social situations. Other people will appreciate your attention and your ability to recall the content of previous discussions. Would you rather be friends with someone who really paid attention and remembered what you talked about or someone who always seemed distracted and forgetful? Turns out anxiety can make you a better friend.
The final benefit of anxiety might be a surprise. People with anxiety have more fun. Think about the last time you were forced into a social event. You probably spent time with anticipatory anxiety as you worried about what you were going to wear, who was going to be there and how long you would have to stay.
The anxiety lowered your expectations so much that you thought you would have a miserable time. By the time you actually attended the event, you were pleasantly surprised by how much fun you had. None of the negative aspects you imagined actually came true. Since your anxiety set the bar so low, the reality of the situation was much better than expected, which yields a high perception of fun. Another victory for anxiety!
Knowing the Difference
The negatives of anxiety and anxiety disorders are mostly extensions of the positive aspects. Any positive taken to an extreme becomes a negative. The way to accurately assess the situation is to look at the overall impact on your daily life and functioning.
If you are able to perform well at school or work, maintain healthy relationships and take care of yourself, your anxiety is likely manageable.
Problems arise when your anxiety keeps you from being happy, doing the things you enjoy and being a functional member of society. If the influence of anxiety becomes overtly negative and progressively more intrusive, seek professional services. Therapists and psychiatrists are logical starting points to help your recovery.
Are you confused by your symptoms? A primary care physician may be a good step in identifying and evaluate your state.
All things being equal, you would rather have no anxiety at all. But since it seems that anxiety is going to be a part of your life, you might as well embrace it.
While doing so, stop to remember the good that comes along with the bad. Use the positive aspects of anxiety to your advantage so that you can exploit anxiety rather than anxiety exploit you.