What is high functioning anxiety?

High functioning anxiety is a relatively new term used to describe a type of anxiety that doesn’t stop whoever is suffering from it to lead a normal life.

People with high functioning anxiety tend to have the great career and/or the lovely house, the great family and the perfect relationship. As far as everybody is concerned, they have got it made. Everything is well in their world. 

They usually appear as being very organised, high-achieving, outgoing, calm and collected.

So what is it?

Once you go past the mask, the reality can be very different. People with high functioning anxiety commonly experience the following:

  • Constant negative thoughts, and the feeling that something bad could happen at any time
  • Overthinking
  • A need for reassurance
  • A racing mind
  • An inability to say No
  • Restlessness
  • Mental and physical fatigue

I can tell you all of that because that was me. 

I used to live with an undercurrent of anxiety that would more or less stop me from enjoying my life as I was constantly worrying. I remember a deep crushing feeling of annoyance at myself for not managing to “get myself together” and enjoy life. Coupled with a need to hide that there was anything wrong.

Having high-functioning anxiety can be very isolating as nobody – including health professionals – seems to understand what you are going through.

And what can be done?

The good news about high-functioning anxiety is that it usually requires a serious strength of character and will to keep going and keep up the appearances of everything being peachy

Once the problem has been identified, that strength of character and that strong will can be used to reprogramme the mind out of the anxiety in a more positive, joyful and empowered mindset.

From experience and as I learned through my training, the effects of anxiety on the body are multi-layered. They can be felt on the physical, mental and emotional levels. 

In order to try and reframe the mind and overcome this anxiety, you want to proceed on several fronts. You want to release the physical stress and tension, work on your emotions and reprogramme your thoughts pattern

Over the years I have found that a combination of yoga and mindset work is the most comprehensive approach to release the stress and anxiety and reframe your mind. 

If you’d like to work with me either in a group setting or 1:1, email me at michele@treelightyoga.com

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