Effective Ways to Manage High Functioning Anxiety

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While anxiety can be debilitating, it’s also important to recognize that it can manifest in different ways. For example, one form of anxiety that often goes overlooked is high-functioning anxiety. 

This condition affects individuals who seem to have it all together on the outside but struggle internally with worry, stress, and anxiety.

This article will explore effective ways to manage high-functioning anxiety. 

We’ll look at the signs and symptoms of this condition, discuss treatment options, and provide tips and strategies for managing anxiety symptoms.

What is High Functioning Anxiety?

High-functioning anxiety is a type of anxiety that affects individuals who appear to be successful, accomplished, and in control on the outside. 

People with this condition are often high achievers who excel in their careers, social lives, and personal relationships. 

However, despite their outward success, they struggle with internal feelings of worry, self-doubt, and anxiety.

People with high-functioning anxiety often put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed and perform at a high level. 

As a result, they may have perfectionistic tendencies and struggle with feelings of inadequacy or imposter syndrome. 

They may also tend to overthink and obsess over small details, leading to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Anxiety

High-functioning anxiety can be challenging to recognize, as individuals with this condition often appear calm, collected, and in control on the outside. 

However, some common signs and symptoms of high-functioning anxiety include:

  • Constant worry and overthinking
  • Perfectionistic tendencies
  • Difficulty relaxing or unwinding
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension, or gastrointestinal issues
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
  • Fear of failure or making mistakes
  • Self-doubt and imposter syndrome
  • Overcommitting or taking on too much
  • Avoidance of social situations or activities due to anxiety

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing high-functioning anxiety, seeking professional help is important. 

A mental health professional can help diagnose and treat this condition and provide tools and strategies for managing anxiety symptoms.

Read more on how to help somebody with anxiety and how to manage anxiety effectively.

Treatment Options for Anxiety

There are several treatment options available for managing high-functioning anxiety. 

The most effective approach will depend on the individual and their unique situation. 

Some common treatment options for high-functioning anxiety include:

  1. Therapy: Therapy is an effective treatment option for managing anxiety symptoms. A mental health professional can help individuals with high-functioning anxiety learn coping skills, identify and challenge negative thought patterns, and develop healthy habits and routines.
  2. Medication: Sometimes, medication may be prescribed to manage anxiety symptoms. Anti-anxiety medications can help reduce feelings of worry and tension, making it easier for individuals to manage their symptoms.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes can be an effective way to manage anxiety symptoms. This may include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and practicing relaxation techniques.
  4. Self-care: Prioritizing self-care is essential for managing high-functioning anxiety. This may include taking breaks when needed, setting boundaries, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.

Tips to Manage Anxiety

In addition to seeking professional help and treatment, there are several things individuals with high-functioning anxiety can do to manage their symptoms. 

Here are some tips and strategies for managing high-functioning anxiety:

  1. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is being present in the moment and non-judgmentally observing thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help individuals with anxiety learn to manage their symptoms.
  2. Challenge negative thoughts: Negative thoughts and self-doubt are common among individuals with high-functioning anxiety. Learning to identify and challenge these thoughts can help manage anxiety symptoms. When negative thoughts arise, try to identify evidence contradicting them and challenge them with positive affirmations.
  3. Practice self-compassion: Individuals with high-functioning anxiety often have high expectations for themselves and can be critical of their shortcomings. Practicing self-compassion can help individuals learn to be kinder and more forgiving to themselves, which can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
  4. Create a routine: Establishing a routine can help individuals with high-functioning anxiety feel more in control and reduce overwhelming feelings. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, exercise routine, and work schedule to help create structure and predictability.
  5. Set realistic goals: Individuals with anxiety often set high expectations for themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy and overwhelm. Setting realistic goals and breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps can help reduce anxiety and increase motivation.
  6. Prioritize self-care: Self-care is essential for managing high-functioning anxiety. Prioritizing activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as spending time in nature or engaging in a creative hobby, can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  7. Practicing gratitude can help shift the focus away from negative thoughts and onto positive aspects of life. Identify things to be grateful for daily and write them down in a journal.

Read more about the short and long-term solutions for treating anxiety


Anxiety is a challenging condition that can impact individuals who appear to have it all together on the outside. 

However, with the right tools and support, individuals with anxiety can learn to manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives. 

Seeking professional help, practicing self-care, and incorporating strategies like mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude can all effectively manage high-functioning anxiety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with high-functioning anxiety, know you are not alone. 

With the right support and resources, it is possible to overcome the challenges of this condition and live a happy, healthy life.

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