Have you ever met a person who seems to have it all figured out and gets a lot done in a day without any anxiety? The one who never misses a deadline and always turns up on time? Sure, they might come across as a perfectionist and sometimes demanding or a little hard on themselves, but they always meet those high standards and succeed.
If that description sounds like you or someone you know, you might be talking about a person with high-functioning anxiety.
High-functioning anxiety has evolved as a catch-all term referring to people who are living with anxiety but identify as functioning successfully in different aspects of their life.
It has not been recognized as a diagnostic category in the mental health handbooks but it propels you forward rather than leaving you frozen in fear.
Signs You May Have High-Functioning Anxiety:
- Disproportionate anger or irritation when things don’t go as planned.
- Inability to delegate and trust that others can complete the task diligently.
- Harsh unrelenting standards.
- Being a thorough perfectionist.
- Extremely organized and demanding control over situations.
These characteristics are not all bad, but they have a darker side to them as well. For instance, when things don’t go as planned, people with high-functioning anxiety feel deregulated and go to unbelievable lengths to regain control over the situation. It is success driven by anxiety that comes at the expense of deteriorating your overall health and wellness.
5 Proven Tips To Cope With High-Functioning Anxiety
Learn To Be Okay With Uncertainty
Learning to be okay with uncertainty does not mean that you’re worry-free. Embrace your anxiety during tough times, consciously identify it and acknowledge it, instead of running away.
Planning is one of the superpowers everyone with high functioning anxiety should embrace.
If you can’t handle uncertainty, at least learn to minimize it. And the best way to do so is by planning for contingencies.
Exercise is a vital source for maintaining mental fitness and reducing stress. Exercising can be really helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
Regular exercising stimulates the production of the brain’s feeling-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. Production of these cause-effects is similar to antidepressant therapy.
Exercise can help deal with high-functioning anxiety by increasing resilience, improving your mood, encouraging an optimistic outlook, improving self-esteem, and improving your sleep.
Mindfulness refers to a process that leads to a mental state characterized by non-judgmental awareness of present moments, consciousness, and environment for encouraging curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
Practicing mindfulness regularly can cultivate optimism, uplift your mood, and help eliminate your self-limiting beliefs.
This ability to be fully present allows you to regain consciousness over your thoughts without self-judgments and let go of them without feeling angry or anxious.
Befriend Your Fears
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions and the word high-functioning anxiety tends to be used to indicate worry or fear that is nagging and persists over time.
If you tend to get anxious when certain things don’t go as planned, then in a prolonged period you start developing a fear for that particular thing. Anxiety increases if you get into this pattern.
Expose yourself to such fears by acknowledging them and writing about them in your diary to develop a calmer mindset.
Reach Out For Help
People with high-functioning anxiety are sometimes reluctant to seek help due to varied reasons. They might think that as they are already achieving so much-they don’t need help or they don’t deserve help. They don’t think of the inner turmoil of anxiety as an internal struggle to seek help.
To avoid that, seek professional help or reach out to your friends or family members to have a broader outlook towards your situation. Don’t just convince yourself that there’s nothing wrong– when deep inside the anxiety is killing you.
Talk about it openly, listen to others’ opinions, and digest what seems right for you.
Take Home Message
High-functioning anxiety can act as a double-edged sword. You might experience success but remember – it should not come at the cost of your anxiousness. Open yourself up to the true feelings, share them, and make the world around you more authentic.