spiritually minded people anxiety

A study suggests that there might be a link between anxiety and being spiritually minded.

Many people in our oh-so-busy world suffer from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is regarded as a chemical imbalance based disability. Those who live with anxiety will attest to the horrifying bouts and painful attacks their own minds put on them, often times even irrationally justifying shortcomings and generating excuses to avoid social (not even socially awkward, just social) circumstances.

There are many types of anxiety, some of which go hand in hand with depression, and most of which limit a person’s ability to effectively interact with their surroundings and maintain a positive and productive demeanor through everyday life. Due to this and our endeavors, as a race, to keep our brethren happy and forthcoming, various institutes have done a significant amount of research on anxiety, and a few have stumbled on a very interesting parallel: It seems that those who are more connected to their spirituality have a tendency to be more anxious, socially and otherwise.

Now, this is almost a chicken before the egg type debate when you really start getting into it. Some of the aforementioned studies had uncovered that typically, people who are fighting through life with GAD tend to have a higher IQ and empathetic ability, as well as pay more attention to what’s happening. Thus, a study which was conducted by the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya in Israel found that:

People with anxiety were better than others at maintaining directed focus while overcoming a primary threat as they are being bombarded by numerous other smaller threats, thereby significantly increasing their chances of survival.

This finding ultimately led to the birth of a term coined “sentinel intelligence” relating to a sort of detection for dangers which aren’t very evident to most people, like the faint scent of smoke as a fire just begins to burn.

So, this begs the question of whether a person who is anxious is, in fact, anxious because of their sentinel intelligence, or, are they hyper-observant because they’re anxious and in the midst of a fear response.

Let’s take a quick look at what intelligence is. Some define it as “The abundance of active nerve cells in a brain.”  Others use the rule of thumb: “The recognition of patterns and associative understanding of “pieces to a puzzle” is one means of recognizing a high intellect.

When superimposing these understandings of what it means to have a high intelligence rating on what has been found in the aforementioned studies pertaining to anxious individuals, it becomes obvious the significant parallel between sentinel observations and higher intellect.

Similar parallels can be found between having a high IQ and being spiritually minded, some examples being open-mindedness, heightened awareness of complex notions, a grasp of theory (as a whole and definition), an understanding of fundamental relativity in a dissociative perspective, and various other influential mindsets which contribute to being spiritually minded. The most of these things which I’d like to bring forth as an obvious parallel for the sake of this article is that of observation and heightened awareness in conjunction with open-mindedness.

All three of these traits, when present in a singular consciousness, will build on one another and lend themselves toward complimenting the other traits. Where our heightened awareness comes out in open-mindedness, for instance, is most abundant when considering the perception of the spiritual world, energies or otherwise, which can’t yet be scientifically proven as infallibly as we’d like, but we are still aware of them.

This, in turn, compliments the observation aspect of a higher intellect in that the observational mindset allows for further discovery and pattern recognitions associated with these things, allowing us to maintain confidence while expressing our open mind. This confidence, a derivative of our observations and thoughts, then plays back into our heightened awareness as a form of observation. Obviously, these spiritually minded, high intellect based qualities are directly associated with sentinel intelligence, as was previously stated to be found in many people with social anxiety.

So, after having dove right in, is it the chicken before the egg? Are those who are socially anxious more likely to be spiritual, or are those who are spiritually minded more apt to suffer from GAD? 

It seems to me that a deeper understanding of the potential issues with the spiritual construction of our bodies and world in which we exist leads to the acknowledgement of further dangers, playing even more on the sentinel intelligence aspect of social anxiety. For, as we know, fear is more prominent in one who knows a ship is sinking than in one who is idly resting in their barracks.

What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Nick Harding

Nick Harding

I'm an automation engineer who started out with just a drafting degree, but didn't want to stop learning. Ideally every day I find someone who needs help and do whatever I can to make their day. I enjoy expressing myself, whether it's through writing, story telling, singing or playing guitar; I love to teach others, as well as myself. My strongest drive is the interest in learning everything I can know, and speculating on topics that I can't. I know many people will react with the question, "an engineer with an open mind!?" Yes, I find it hard to disbelieve the things which we can see - since I am able to see energy, I am able to consider other potentials which are also deemed "non-scientific".