Overthinking things can be horrible sometimes. Your mind won’t let you sleep, you spend time stuck with simple decisions and you explore scenarios that will never actually take place in the real world. But in spite of the down size, new research suggests that people who overthink and worry a lot are actually creative geniuses.
Researchers at King’s College in London have recently made the remarkable discovery that anxiety and a strong imagination are actually very closely linked together.
According to Dr. Adam Perkins, who is an expert in Neurobiology of Personality:
“It occurred to me that if you happen to have a preponderance of negatively hued self-generated thoughts, due to high levels of spontaneous activity in the parts of the medial prefrontal cortex that govern conscious perception of threat and you also have a tendency to switch to panic sooner than average people, due to possessing especially high reactivity in the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, then that means you can experience intense negative emotions even when there’s no threat present. This could mean that for specific neural reasons, high scorers on neuroticism have a highly active imagination, which acts as a built-in threat generator.”
He goes on to explain;
“Cheerful, happy-go-lucky people by definition do not brood about problems and so must be at a disadvantage when problem-solving compared to a more neurotic person. We have a useful sanity check for our theory because it is easy to observe that many geniuses seem to have a brooding, unhappy tendency that hints they are fairly high on the neuroticism spectrum. For example, think of the life stories of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, etc. Perhaps the link between creativity and neuroticism was summed up most succinctly of all by John Lennon when he said: ‘Genius is pain.’”
So the next time you beat yourself up or someone else for being to worrisome, or thinking “too much”, remind yourself that you just might be in the presence of a genius.