Is it possible you regularly wrestle with high-functioning anxiety as an over-achiever? If so, struggling to complete tasks due to stress isn’t your problem like it is for many. Instead, it’s figuring out how to slow down or rest for a while. Your anxiety always pushes you to accomplish more than before, but maybe you’re starting to wonder if the cost is worth it.
In her “Psychology Today” article entitled 6 Tips for Professionals with High-Functioning Anxiety, Candace Good, MD, shares the following:
“Hardworking professionals sometimes have a hard time slowing down, even outside of work. There is no off switch. High achievers may fear failure and often have difficulties setting boundaries between work and home time.”
Do you feel the constant pressure and stress to achieve? Do you also worry about letting others down, or are you driven to goal completion by a critical inner voice? If so, high-functioning anxiety, also sometimes called high-performing anxiety, could be the reason for these unhealthy motivators. Here are some ways to manage the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety better.
Recognize That High-Functioning Anxiety is a Problem
One of the most significant challenges with high-functioning anxiety is that it’s hard to recognize. Those dealing with the signs of high-functioning anxiety often view it as an inevitable part of life. They become accustomed to pushing past the anxiety and assume it can be conquered by mere force.
It can seem like discipline and strength are enough to overcome this anxiety form for a while. After all, high achievers get used to barging through barriers that stand in their way when achieving goals.
But the vital thing to realize is that fighting persistent anxiety of this magnitude is not a sustainable strategy. Eventually, even the strongest high achievers succumb to unmanageable stress levels.
For that reason, the first step is to recognize and admit that your high-functioning anxiety is a concern and that it needs to change. It isn’t just a character trait you can do nothing about. You’ll have to change the way you think about it. Once you realize you need to manage your high-functioning anxiety better, you’ll be ready for the next steps.
Remind Yourself that You Have a Choice
Remind yourself that your anxiety isn’t simply a product of your personality. Instead, it’s a choice. And it’s causing you more harm than good. It can be easy to just say, “Well, that’s the way I’ve always been.”
But until you’re fully convinced you have another option besides anxiety, not much will change. You’ll have to become more aware of your internal dialogue and how it sabotages your mental wellbeing, making you anxious.
Are you overly negative towards yourself, rarely if ever celebrating key milestones in your career or overall life? This is a common challenge for those with high-functioning anxiety. You’ll want to intentionally find ways to celebrate your milestones to counteract the anxiety. You’ll also want to practice positively affirming yourself rather than constantly dwelling on the negatives.
Rethink what it means to truly take a break and rest. It’s vital that you rest your body and mind. Look for meditation techniques that get your mind off of your daily tasks or negativity so your entire person can rest deeply.
Take Intentional, Actionable Steps
Living with high-functioning anxiety can eventually make it difficult to take actionable steps towards your goals. You create such high pressure, expectations, and perfectionism for yourself that it becomes hard to take one step towards your goals. Even the smallest tasks like writing an email can eventually become overwhelming because you’re so worried about that task being perfect.
For this reason, make a solid effort to just act rather than overthink. Before your brain has the chance to get too concerned about a perfect email, just write it out and send it. You can implement this strategy with many other tasks too.
Yes, you’ll still want to guard against being impulsive. At the same time, you’ll also accomplish a lot more by just doing your tasks rather than allowing your mind to get overly involved. No one is flawless, nor is their work. Learn to take the pressure off yourself so those perfectionistic tendencies don’t cause you to procrastinate.
Be Open About Your Struggles with High-Functioning Anxiety
Isolation is pervasive for those dealing with high-functioning anxiety. And the link between high-functioning anxiety and depression is an increased concern as a result. These further fuels the specific concern of high-functioning social anxiety as you withdraw from others
There are a lot of inner conflicts since the inner and outer personas often don’t match. Outwardly, there is often a lot of positivity and confidence, while inwardly, negativity and a lack of confidence reign supreme.
It can be very exhausting keeping the real inner persona and the false outward one going. And eventually, this confliction of character breaks down all together. There’s a lot of fear that others could find out about the truer and negative inner persona.
As a result, those struggling with high-functioning anxiety tend to isolate themselves from others. They don’t want people to find out about how they’re having a tough time or how they’re feeling. But this openness that is so shunned is precisely what these anxiety sufferers need.
They need a safe outlet to share that they feel weak and fearful on the inside. Although doing so doesn’t cause high functioning anxiety to magically vanish, it does take away much of its stranglehold since isolation only further fuels it.
This is where a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can be invaluable. As you open up about your struggles, they won’t feel as immense as before. You’ll also feel more comfortable if you decide to seek further treatment for high-functioning anxiety.
Counseling Could Help with Your High-Functioning Anxiety
If you or someone you love struggles with high-functioning anxiety symptoms, counseling will likely help. You don’t have to keep going through life while carrying such a heavy weight. The OC Relationship Center can assist you with your anxiety.
Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about high-functioning anxiety treatment. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our anxiety counselors.