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Future Tense

Why Anxiety Is Good for You (Even Though It Feels Bad)

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About the Book

A leading researcher and clinical psychologist explains why we feel anxious and reveals how anxiety can actually be a positive force we can use to better our lives.

We all feel anxious. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, regardless of what we’re told, according to Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary. Anxiety is part of what makes us human, and as recent scientific studies, including her own research, have shown, that feeling of uncertainty can actually be productive. Like stress and fear, anxiety evolved to protect us. Every time we sense a threat, a warning alarm goes off: something may be about to go wrong. But while anxiety is related to stress and fear, it’s different because it’s anchored in our ability to project ourselves into the future and take actions to make it better.

This future orientation, which the author calls the future tense, helps us plan, envision possibilities, hope, create, and dream. But thinking about what may come also can cause us to worry. Dr. Dennis-Tiwary encourages us to read this feeling as a robust warning that our future dreams and our present realities may be out of sync. By acknowledging our anxiety and seeing it as a tool, she contends, we can use it to energize us—to motivate us to change, grow, and succeed. If we can shift our mindset and grow more comfortable with our discomfort, she promises, anxiety will become a superpower that improves our lives.

Dr. Dennis-Tiwary addresses both generalized anxiety—which we all face—and anxiety disorders, when our anxious reactions and feelings prevent us from functioning effectively. By looking at anxiety in a new way, she gives hope to those suffering from disabling anxiety and offers them a way forward. With Future Tense, we can learn to better manage anxiety and use it to spark creativity and joy and experience a more productive life.

About the Author

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary