While an individual who deals with high-functioning anxiety can often feel like they are drowning in their thoughts, there is shelter from the storm. Here are six, healthy ways to manage high-functioning anxiety.
Recognize and acknowledge your symptoms for what they are.
“I have anxiety and that is okay”. If you can recognize and acknowledge the symptoms that you experience when you’re feeling anxious, it is the first step in dealing with it. This is a key aspect of mindfulness. Mindfulness involves acknowledging what is occurring without passing positive or negative judgement. For example if you are feeling anxious in a situation you would simply note this anxious feeling rather than labelling it as negative.
Make friends with your fear.
By understanding where your fears and anxieties come from, you can begin to understand how to deal with it. For example, a fear of presentations may actually be rooted in a fear of not being good enough for your job. You can then begin to work on the root cause and alleviate the resulting anxious thoughts.
Reconnect with your body.
A person with high-functioning anxiety tends to live in his or her head. It is particularly difficult for this individual to break the cycle of fearful thoughts and emotions. By reconnecting with your physical body, it becomes easier to stay out of your head. Consistently engaging in deep breathing, going for short (or long) walks, and exercising are just a few ways that you can try to reconnect with your body.
Have a mantra and use it everyday.
“Who I am is good enough for me.” “I am doing the best that I can.” Utilizing a consistent mantra and engaging in positive self-talk is a good way to deal with high-functioning anxiety, particularly in dealing with perfectionism and not feeling good enough. But, remember, it’s not enough to just say it...you have to believe it.
Learn how to intervene with yourself.
Rather than relying on another person to intervene, it is essential for a person with high-functioning anxiety to intervene with themselves. Unfortunately, anxiety feeds more anxiety. It’s important for a person to find the tools necessary to deal with anxiety, such as walking away from anxiety-ridden situations, saying “no”, and prioritizing yourself.
Create a support network.
Reach out to the people around you. Whomever you are comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with is a great starting point to building your squad. Even if it’s one or two people, knowing that you have somebody to rely on is much more comforting than walking through difficult times alone. When you have high-functioning anxiety this can be particularly difficult as you are often extremely attached to the facade of perfection you have created. But letting a few people in will help you recognize that the people in your life support you regardless of your successes or failures.