How To Recognize High Functioning Anxiety

December 15, 2022

Some anxiety can be a normal part of life and can often be beneficial. Providing a sense of motivation and alertness. However, it can be difficult to recognize and manage when anxiety becomes overwhelming and debilitating. High-functioning anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that is often overlooked because the sufferer is able to continue functioning in their daily life. While they are able to maintain a successful career, relationships, and other activities. They can struggle with a significant amount of stress and fear. Recognizing and managing high-functioning anxiety is essential to keeping your life in balance. With the right tools and understanding, you can learn to develop effective coping strategies to manage your anxiety. You can start to feel in control and take back your life.

What is high-functioning anxiety?

. While the signs and symptoms of high-functioning anxiety may vary from person to person, the condition usually leads to increased levels of stress and anxiety and an inability to handle challenges or make decisions. People with high-functioning anxiety are often thought to be “strong and capable”. Individuals who can maintain a high level of productivity in their work, relationships, and other activities. However, those with high-functioning anxiety often feel like they are crumbling on the inside. They might run on caffeine, fuelled by the stress hormone cortisol, and feel like they are constantly on the edge of a breakdown. They might also be living with shame and fear of being ‘found out’. Because they are afraid that others won’t understand or be able to help them.

How to recognize the triggers of high-functioning anxiety

Anxiety disorders often include an ‘ideal’ scenario in which the symptoms are most noticeable. But in reality, they often manifest in different ways for different people. For example, a person who suffers from a panic disorder may feel particularly anxious in crowded places. Whereas a person with social anxiety disorder may feel anxious when being evaluated or judged by others. If ou believe that you may be experiencing high-functioning anxiety, it may be helpful to take note of your environment and the types of situations that lead to increased stress and anxiety. You can also track the symptoms you notice, such as racing thoughts, racing heartbeat, feelings of dread, nausea, etc. By paying attention to your anxiety symptoms, you can learn to recognize their triggers. Understanding what sets you off can help minimize your anxiety’s effects and make it much easier to seek out the help you need.

Stress reduction techniques

If you’ve been diagnosed with high-functioning anxiety, it’s likely that you have a heightened level of stress that’s difficult to manage. The following stress reduction techniques can help to lower your cortisol levels, reduce anxiety, and help you to feel less overwhelmed.


Practicing mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. It can be helpful for those who struggle with high-functioning anxiety to find a form of meditation that works for them. 


Controlled breathing is a fundamental but effective way to reduce your cortisol levels. If you’re in a place where you can close your eyes, place your hand on your stomach and slowly breathe in for 5 seconds, and then out for 5 seconds, slowly.


Moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. If you’re having difficulty managing your anxiety and are worried you might end up pushing yourself too far, it’s best to consult with a doctor or health care professional.

The importance of self-care

Managing high-functioning anxiety is an ongoing process that requires significant energy and time. It can often feel like you’re walking a tightrope and that one misstep could lead to a total collapse. It’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your anxiety is something that you need to ‘beat’ or ‘conquer’. Anxiety disorders are often chronic, lifelong conditions that require a significant amount of self-care to manage. This can be tiring and challenging at times, but also rewarding and worthwhile. It can be helpful to set aside a few minutes every day to do something that you enjoy or that makes you feel relaxed, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a bath.

Professional help for high-functioning anxiety

If you’ve been experiencing high-functioning anxiety for a long period of time, it’s important to seek help. It’s easy to feel ashamed or embarrassed about your anxiety. Especially if you feel like your symptoms are preventing you from living your life, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. Anxiety disorders affect millions of people, and there are many effective treatments and strategies that can help you to manage your symptoms. In many cases, a counselor or therapist can provide effective treatment for anxiety, and you can choose whether to work with an individual or group setting. You may also want to consider joining an online support group where you can connect with others who have experienced similar symptoms. A therapist or support group can help you to learn how to better manage your anxiety, reduce your symptoms, and feel in control again.

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