Recognising High Functioning Anxiety

Recognising High Functioning Anxiety

The term “high functioning anxiety” generally refers to someone who functions well enough to fulfil the obligations required by career and relationships to keep moving forward in their lives, yet still must deal with anxiety or stress from a particular part of their life.

This may seem like every day stress, and a certain degree this is true. Every day  we face pressures that on occasion cause us sleepless nights or make us reach for a glass of wine after a difficult day.

However, how do we stop high functioning anxiety turning into a version of anxiety that can lead to more severe mental health issues?

How to recognise if you are living with high functioning anxiety:


Wanting control and order

Most people have the characteristic of wanting to be in control and having life in perfect order – a perfectionist one might say. By having everything in your life in a certain order you tend to feel more in control and safe. However, something as simple as missing a single workout or not getting your usual car park can send you spiralling.

Keeping your distance

Often people call you aloof or distant, you fail to emotionally let people see your weak side. By trying to keep your anxiety and vulnerability to yourself, you can often compartmentalise your emotions in an attempt to think logically and rationally.

Fear of others’ opinions of you

You are constantly worried about what others think of you and will always try to go out of your way to ensure you please others. Often, when this doesn’t happen you become increasingly anxious and negative self-talk starts to creep in. Disappointing others is your biggest fear.

Physical issues

Your worries about key aspects of your life can start to affect you physically. You might not be able to sleep, you find yourself feeling run down or you may even be more susceptible to colds and flu. Internal worries can sometimes manifest physically. Another key trait to keep an eye on is bad habits such as biting your nails or fiddling with your hair.

Missing out is a real fear

The fear of missing out is a true fear, you hate saying no to any type of social engagement as you worry that you will miss out on the fun or the latest news and gossip. Your high functioning nature means you feel obliged to be involved and your high standards guide you.

Don’t be alarmed if you recognise some or most of these traits.  Each day we all go through phases of working through stress and anxiety, and most times this can pass as we recognise the issues and try to rectify the situation.

Our advice to you is that if you feel the anxiety continue to rise and you don’t seem to be able to use any techniques to pull you through – it’s time to talk to a professional.

Psychological Health and Wellbeing Services(PHaWS) offer you a team of qualified, experienced, compassionate Psychologists and Allied Health clinicians, who specialise in bringing about the changes that you want in your life.

Book your appointment with us today.

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