What drives you to jump out of bed every morning? Is your motivation behind anything you do driven by passion or is it driven by fear of failure? Are you always on top of things at work because you are passionate about your work or fear what might happen if everything doesn’t go according to plan? Is your home always well-organized and tidy because you love cleaning or because you aim for perfectionism? This distinction is key here to identify ‘high functioning anxiety’. It’s a term used to describe people who have frequent anxiety but function well, or at least appear to function well to other people. It is not a medical diagnosis, rather a behaviour one is prone to. Most people have no idea that they are experiencing frequent anxiety.
On the outside, people with high-functioning anxiety might appear outgoing, high-achieving, organized, and detail-oriented perfectionists. That’s because their anxiety makes them arrive early for meetings and appointments, have a structured approach to everything, plan ahead for all possibilities, and try to please everyone. Anxiety does not paralyze them, rather pushes them forward to achieve more, says Ms. Urvashi Upadhyay, Master Life Coach & NLP Practitioner.
What are signs of high functioning anxiety?
However, even though they can be perceived by others as achievement-oriented perfectionists and highly motivated, their own reality is likely to be one of racing thoughts, restless bodies and a sense that they are never doing enough.
If this sounds like you, here are some of the other signs you might be dealing with high functioning anxiety-
Perfectionism is actually an illusion. However, for you whether it’s at work, home, in relationships or in the gym you strive for perfection in everything you do. You set impossibly high standards for yourself and aim for perfection, whatever it means for you. These unrealistic expectations of yourself is often coupled with a fear of not meeting them. You often have a ‘black or white’ mentality ‘if I’m not the best, then I’m the worst’.
You may exhibit controlling behaviour
Setting impossibly high standards can manifest in controlling habits and strict routines, but it’s really a way to make you feel like you’re more in charge of your life.
Switching between procrastination and last-minute work
You’re always busy with long to-do lists and your weekends are packed with plans. You claim to love it but constantly having something to do actually keeps your mind off what will happen when you finally stop and you’re alone with your own thoughts.
Needing constant reassurance
You don’t trust yourself and are frequently checking or doing excessive research to check if you are on the right track. You’re don’t sleep well because your mind is always on an overdrive and overstimulated with ideas and thoughts about how you can achieve more or perform better.
Unexplained aches and pains
You may have unexplained aches and pains or nervous habits to release your anxiety. Every suppressed emotion, including anxiety shows up as a physical manifestation in the body drawing your attention to it and reminding you to take things slow. You might bite your nails, shake your legs, tap your foot, or do other repetitive things to channel your nervous energy.
High-functioning anxiety should not be ignored because it is not healthy. Even if you’re doing well at work and in your relationships, anxiety can still limit your life because you do not relax or recharge yourself. As they say, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. Go easy on yourself and accept yourself as you are while striving to do your best creating a healthy balance for your mind, body and spirit.
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