Social Anxiety Linked to High IQs


Steven Bancarz, creator of ‘Spirit Science and Metaphysics,’ recently wrote an article in response to some studies that suggest people who practice spirituality are susceptible to mental health problems. Spirituality can cover a broad range of beliefs, not just “religion” (even Atheists may practice forms of spirituality), and Bancarz believes researchers are looking at it the wrong way.

In the Daily Mail’s article, titled “Spiritual people are more likely to be mentally ill (but at least they think life has more meaning),” they were basically saying “They’re crazy, but at least they think life is more important to them.”

The Telegraph covered the same story, making the claim that spiritual people struggle to mentally cope. However, Bancarz poses the question, “could it be possible that the reason spiritually-minded people have more mental health issues and anxiety problems is not because they are loony, but because they are more connected to what is happening in the world?

Bancarz refers to a study published at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, in which social anxiety was linked to having increased empathic abilities. In other words, people who suffer from social anxiety are more in-tune with the world around them. They’re able to feel and interpret the emotions and mental states of others, and in fact, if you speak to a person with social anxiety, you’ll find this is the basic description most people will give you.

The study concludes:

Results support the hypothesis that high socially anxious individuals may demonstrate a unique social-cognitive abilities profile with elevated cognitive empathy tendencies and high accuracy in affective mental state attributions.

According to Bancarz, people who consider themselves “conscious” or “spiritual” also report having social anxiety. They experience things like depression and other mental disorders, but people who suffer from anxiety may also be more intelligent.




A study from Lakehead University discovered that people with anxiety scored higher on verbal intelligence tests, and people with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression scored higher on verbal-linguistic testing. Another study conducted by the Interdisciplinary Center 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 same research team found that people with anxiety have “sentinel intelligence,” or the ability to detect real threats that were not yet detectable to others (like the smell of smoke).

SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, found that people with severe cases of GAD had much higher IQs than those with milder cases, the theory being that “an anxious mind is a searching mind.” People with anxiety are always analyzing, assessing, formulating ideas, reflecting, and processing information. Again, this is something nearly every person with anxiety can testify to.




Dr. Jeremy Coplan:

While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be.”

As Bancarz points out, it would seem people with “mental disorders” are more intelligent, and have much higher psycho-social awareness.




In conclusion

While it may be accurate to say that people who are spiritually-minded most commonly suffer from heightened anxiety and depression, evidence suggests that this is because they are consciously aware of the world around them, and have an increased ability to feel the emotions of other people. It’s interesting to consider that perhaps people with these personality types find themselves drawn to various forms of spirituality, not because they are a bunch of idiots who believe in things science cant explain, but rather because they possess heightened senses, thereby making them more susceptible to mental illness.

It could be possible that people with social anxiety and general anxiety do not actually suffer from disorders, but rather they simply have a heightened intuition and are able to more accurately interpret people’s states, or possible dangers.

These scientific studies shine a whole new light on spirituality and social anxiety. Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel, and don’t let anyone call you crazy because of it. Perhaps what we are calling a disorder is actually a gift.”

This Article (Social Anxiety Linked to High IQs) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

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Bancarz, Steven. The Idealist Revolution. Apr 28, 2015. (

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  1. All spiritual people are doing is believing in fairy tales. That is likely why they suffer mental illness, because their minds are not in reality. Nor are tey any more connected to the world than anyone else. Connection has nothing to do with it, it’s about understanding the world. Spiritual people think they know about the spirit but they really don’t know anything. The feelings they have are produced by the mind and environment. That’s why different people can feel different about the same location or what ever evokes emotions. It’s not hard to see how someone is feeling, that likely and unconscious action of determining how someone else is feeling based on how they look, act, and speak. So basically spiritual people are making up their own stories or believing someone else’s stories instead of seeing the reality around themselves. That takes the mind out of sync with reality causing metal illness. When humanity acknowledges the reality of life, hopefully things can finally change for the better. There’s not evidence of what happens after you die and I will not believe anything from a book written hundreds of years ago. That’s just ignorant. I’m entirely positive that the spiritual realm is beyond our understanding as material beings and so being material, that should be our focus, not something intangible. We could make life good for all people but we don’t. I’m also entirely positive that in the distant future, if humanity doesn’t destroy itself or become extinct, all religions will be nothing more than relics in museums. Common people today do not have enough knowledge on how nature really works to come to any conclusion oh what life is. Nature includes the stars and planets and physics. All of that is part of nature. Something else that is very important to understand is that humans are also a part of nature, we are nothing more than animals. We just have a different brain. We think too much of ourselves and not enough about the rest of nature. That in part contributes to many of the social problems we have today. As does religion.

    • You need to some more research into spirituality. Spirituality is not the belief in fairy tales. There are numerous forms of spirituality, many of which are based off what we know of science. There is no clear definition of the word “spirituality,” so to say with confidence that people who practice spirituality are only believing in fairy tales shows your ignorance on the subject. You are trying to confuse religion and myth with spirituality, and they are all very much different from one another. Considering that is the basis of your argument, the rest of your spew is irrelevant. Do some research on a subject before you comment.

    • Spayd, you don’t even know what you’re talking about. I side with neither spirituality, relgion, or this fraud of a psychology idiots would have called a science. You don’t even know your stuff, so don’t talk as though you do.

    • You must have not read, or not understood, the.paragraphs above. It has nothing to do with fairy tales and ive suspected their conclusions for a long time.

    • Good points. We just have to use science (a far best way of thinking) and technology and put our focus on effieciency, health of human and the world sorounding us…
      I’d add sth to point where you said that spiritual people are not more connected to the world than other people.
      They are just more aware of that connection, like when you realize that everything is basically one. It’s a wonderful feeling 😉

  2. I’m happy to not share your outlook, while I agree there are many logical aspects in what you say but the you cannot deny the pull of the heart. Each sense you have, that dictates the way the world is perceived, creates an emotion that your minds conditions itself to identify and react to. This is commonly defined as human nature and is the reason we have existed for so long. If it was not something to cause connection, how could so many have developed the ability? Every sense has a purpose, there is no denying it. While emotions are defined as irradict, overwhelming and commonly sided on negativity it is all foley. Have you never gone a different direction because somethi ng pulled at you? Called that friend you hadn’t thought of for years, out of the blue? There is so much more than this event of humanity knows, so much has been taken from history. Emotion has kept the human race alive and produced evolution at impressive rate.
    Humanity must find the heart string again and reconnect to the world around us, this is what is missing. It has been disconnected for too long and look at what we have done. We kill, we maimed and we take no responsibility for it. We show no shame, we think we have a right.. this planet it alive and until we recognize that it is bigger than we, things will only get worse. We are part of a cymbionic process that we have negated and thrown out of balance.
    I agree with many of your points but not the heart pull not existing or being important. Your existence proves it. With out the emotion of desire and endorphins of love, you my friend would not be here.

    • Well said. The word “ignorant” is being thrown out in such a negative context throughout this discussion. Facts and logic are hard to defy, however, with no emotion or desire to connect and understand differences, we would have a world full of robotic misery. Some do not agree, so be It. Nice post.

  3. Spayd, argue for your limitations and they are yours. As for this article- yes you are on to something. It is just the beginning.

  4. You have it all wrong, Spayd. You mix up contexts from different sources into others, because you lack a thorough understanding. As far as reality, learn it. Psychology is so head up it’s own ass that it’s not even funny, which is all you seem to base the entirety of your post off of. F.Y.I. Spirituality is completely different from religion. Don’t understand? Go figure it out. I haven’t the time to waste with fools like you. Also, I’m neither with religion, spirituality, or psychology. Still, I say you don’t know jack shit about this matter. You’re a damned fool.

  5. Of course people with anxiety over threats would be more aware of them, they are looking for them. If not obsessing over them. Having a heighten state of anxiety also releases more cortisol which leads to more metabolic disease. It’s also been lined in rats to a closed GR receptor that remains closed in low nutured rats.
    I would be scared of what they refer to as spirituality or religion.
    Someone can be atheist and be more lobbing to their neighbors than some pious counterparts.
    I am also leery of the fact that you belive you can tell what people are feeling merely by outward appearances, sounds more like biased judgments than a gift to read minds.

    Not everything that gives you anxiety is a threat though, being able to process what is a perceived insult vs a real treat would also temper your anxiety.
    Real religion (one of love) would help to mitigate this by lessening you defensive and offensive reacting to things that may be perceived personal to some, but just the coincidence of life to others.
    It is impossible to behave rationally without a certain amount of emotional responsibility and intelligence; no matter how logical or great our cognitive skills are.
    Phineas Gage was no less intelligent after his accident, but he did become intolerable.
    His post traumatic suffering was probability even more compounded by the fact that on the surface he still seemed unaffected in cognition.
    Emotions play a major role in social relationship and people who have unhealthy relationship tend to have unhealthy bodies as well.
    Irritable people live on average 10 years shorter than their agreeable counterparts.

  6. “Spirituality can cover a broad range of beliefs, not just “religion” (even Atheists may practice forms of spirituality)”

    So you didn’t even read those first few lines before replying? -.-

  7. It is a special article, writing about a lot of things, views and stuff hard to understand what they mean as english is my second langue.

    But this part is spot on for me

    “SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, found that people with severe cases of GAD had much higher IQs than those with milder cases, the theory being that “an anxious mind is a searching mind.” People with anxiety are always analyzing, assessing, formulating ideas, reflecting, and processing information. Again, this is something nearly every person with anxiety can testify to.”

    I analyse a lot, insanely if I have been arguing with some one, some thing went wrong, if a person dont react as I assumed they would like they dont give me a hug as they usually do. If I as said get pissed at some one or something really epic happen maybe with a girl, I can think about it for days and analyse it over and over, I also plan the next meeting with a girl in my head maybe a week or several weeks ahead how everything will go and what I will say how she will react and so on.

    Now a days I say to my self “stop your self dreaming and analysing, your crazy, forget it and take it one day at a time”. It helps a lot, otherwise I some times dream for days over a girl or analyse why something did not go as exspected for days.

    This part is so 100% true, I also is good a predicting dangers and noone else ever thinks about.

  8. People go to the moon; They seek the end of the cosmos. The life of Brahma is an illusion; there is the end of the cosmos. This illusion (Maya) sends you to find the limit of the universe, look at the deception: it does not send you to the center …. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


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