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How to Deal With High-Functioning Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States, as it impacts more than 40 million people. There are different forms of anxiety disorders that can develop, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and of course, generalized anxiety disorder. Each one presents with its own set of symptoms and affects people differently. Despite popular belief, a person can remain high-functioning no matter what type of anxiety disorder they have. The most important factor for people with this kind of anxiety can benefit from is how to deal with high-functioning anxiety in a healthy way. 

What is High-Functioning Anxiety?

High-functioning anxiety occurs when a person with an anxiety disorder is able to continue to function at a normal (if not higher-than-normal) level despite their anxiety. This does not mean that they are not impacted by their anxiety, rather it means that their anxiety does not get in the way of their daily accomplishments. At first thought, high-functioning anxiety might not seem so bad, especially if people who have it are able to go through life with minimal or no related consequences. But the truth is that those who have high-functioning anxiety can operate on a normal level but still experience effects that can make their lives more difficult overall. 

Traditional symptoms of anxiety disorders often include excessive worry, gastrointestinal problems due to worry, irrational thinking, and fear. Some people find themselves crippled by their symptoms, however those with high-functioning anxiety do not share the same experience. This is partly due to the fact that the symptoms they experience are slightly different than those of someone with traditional anxiety. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Overthinking
  • Nervous chatter
  • Procrastinating then rushing to finish something
  • Difficulty saying “no” 
  • Constantly being a “people pleaser”
  • Dwelling on worries
  • Difficulty relaxing in the moment
  • Problems making eye contact
  • Avoiding social situations 

Many of these symptoms go unnoticed by others simply because they are easily excused away by other assumptions or even considered normal in some situations. Plus, those with high-functioning anxiety tend to keep their anxiety under wraps easily. But despite being able to do this, affected individuals can benefit from learning how to deal with high-functioning anxiety so that they can find more peace in their lives. 

Coping Skills for High-Functioning Anxiety

There are risks associated with allowing high-functioning anxiety to continue. For example, individuals who are experiencing this are more likely to turn to the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with the effects that they do experience. They are also more likely to burn themselves out from ruminating on certain thoughts, always trying to please others, and having difficulty saying “no”. This burnout can lead to problems at work, home, school, and in relationships. Thankfully, however, there are things that individuals can do to help manage their high-functioning anxiety. 

Recognize Symptoms

Without knowing what the symptoms are, people with high-functioning anxiety might not even be aware that they have it. When educated on what these symptoms are, these individuals can identify and address them in ways that help to reduce their presence.

Don’t Engage in Anxious Thoughts

It can be hard to imagine how to deal with high-functioning anxiety when anxious thoughts keep developing. Those who deal with this type of anxiety can benefit from working on not engaging in anxious thoughts or thinking patterns. This can be done by enabling skills designed to distract away from anxieties in a healthy way, such as going for a walk when feeling anxious about something.

Make Lifestyle Changes

One of the best ways to deal with high-functioning anxiety is to make healthy lifestyle changes and maintain them. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising as regularly as possible, and getting enough rest. When the mind and body are being taken care of in this manner, anxiety can lessen.

Talk to Loved Ones

When trying to figure out how to deal with high-functioning anxiety, one of the best things a person can do is to reach out and talk to one or more loved ones about what they are going through. Simply speaking aloud the challenges that one experiences can be therapeutic in itself, plus it allows others to be a source of support when high-functioning anxiety becomes too much.

Get Help

It does not matter if a person’s high-functioning anxiety isn’t creating severe problems in their lives. Getting professional help can make learning how to deal with high-functioning anxiety easier, as a mental health specialist can provide effective skills and resources so the individual can be in control of their anxiety, rather than the other way around. 

Anxiety Treatment in Nashville

If you are experiencing anxiety of any kind, including high-functioning anxiety, reach out to our team at Arbor Wellness right now. We can help you identify, address, and learn how to cope with this particular concern so that you can start living life to its fullest.

Call us at (866) 771-1649 to speak to one of our administrative professionals right now. We are here to help and support you along the way as you work to recover from your high-functioning anxiety. Call today.