Cost of living 10% discount for all new enquires

Card showing to do list

6 June 2024

What Are the Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety?

When we think of anxiety, we often think of people sitting nervously in a room, afraid to go out.

But anxiety can take many forms – and it isn’t always obvious that someone is affected by it. In fact, in many cases, anxiety is ‘invisible’.

The fact is some people wear their anxiety much better than others. That doesn’t mean they are no less affected. It’s just that they are able to conceal their anxiety and function at a higher level.

Why anxiety affects people across the board

During my 15+ years as a clinical hypnotherapist, I have treated thousands of people with anxiety. They truly come from every walk of life.

During my 2,000 hours of training, I learnt exactly how anxiety affects the mind (see my blog on the amygdala hijack) and how no one is immune.

No matter how successful you are at work, it is your life history that counts when it comes to your chances of being affected by anxiety.

That’s because anxiety is a response to something that has happened to you in the past. It is basically your body and mind’s way of dealing with something that it perceives to be a threat.

Because of this, no one is immune. From the richest politicians and business leaders to everyday members of the public, none of us have a say in how we are affected by anxiety.

Why would somebody be described as having high-functioning anxiety?

People often make the mistake that high-functioning means successful. That isn’t necessarily the case. You can be a high-functioning person with anxiety and be retired or unemployed.

The high-functioning aspect refers to the way in which you are able to continue your life, despite your challenges.

Because often, anxiety comes with challenges that are so severe they dramatically affect your life and prove to be very limiting.

What are the signs of highfunctioning anxiety?

Remember, you don’t need to be a CEO to have high-functioning anxiety. You could be running your local youth football team or holding down two minimum wage jobs.

It’s all about how well you appear to be managing above the surface – like the proverbial swan whose feet are frantically powering away underneath the water.

Here are five clues that you may be a highly functioning, anxious person.

1. You’re a productivity powerhouse, always juggling to-do lists, calendars and deadlines.

If this is you, you probably strive for excellence all the time. Maybe you often surpass expectations. But if we dig deeper, there is probably a drive that stems from a fear of failure. You may also have an inner critic that never rests. There is a constant ‘busyness’ that occupies you – and this might also stop you from taking the time to actually confront your anxieties.

2 You have mastered the art of control (at face value)

Some people with high-functioning anxiety meticulously plan all aspects of their life, trying to anticipate every outcome. It could be that surprises make you uncomfortable – because you prefer knowing exactly what will happen. While being incredibly prepared like this can occasionally be helpful, it can also be a sign of anxiety. Perhaps this is your way of trying to manage the feeling of not having authority over your life.

3 You are a people-pleaser and always go above and beyond to avoid confrontation

Has saying “yes” when it stretches you thin become second nature to you? If so, this kind of behaviour often stems from a fear of rejection and an ingrained desire for approval. Constantly prioritising others can leave you feeling exhausted and resentful.

4 You overthink and analyse every angle.

Do you often find yourself caught in a cycle of “what ifs? Do you endlessly dwell on missed opportunities? If you have high-performance anxiety, you probably probably replay conversations, overanalyse interactions and worry about future problems. This constant mental activity can prevent you from truly enjoying the moment.

5 You regularly put on a facade of strength.

This can be truly draining, and ultimately, how well does it really hold up? Some people with high-functioning anxiety strive to project confidence and competence, rarely revealing their vulnerabilities. Or perhaps you downplay your anxiety, convincing yourself that it’s not as severe as the anxiety felt by others that you may know. But bottling up your emotions can have negative effects on your well being.

How can hypnotherapy help with highfunctioning anxiety?

Just because a type of anxiety may be described as high-functioning, it doesn’t mean ‘good’! Unless anxiety strikes at a critical moment and is appropriate to the situation (giving you the strength to run away from a burning building for example), no anxiety is desirable. Or better than anybody else’s!

I help people deal with all kinds of anxieties, including social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and confidence issues.

The key during one of our 90-minute hypnotherapy sessions is to help you achieve a highly relaxed state, during which you become more open to positive suggestions about how you react to and deal with things.

It is a bit like wiping the slate in terms of your responses. For example, if going into the bar after work always fills you with anxiety, then there is probably a backstory behind that.

During hypnotherapy, we can address your history and effectively write a new script. In other words, we give the brain somewhere else to go the next time you’re in that situation.

Somewhere more calming.

Somewhere that doesn’t lead to all of those physical sensations that come with anxiety.

How to take the next steps to treat high-functioning anxiety

One thing that I offer that my clients find helpful is a free 20-minute consultation before booking your first session. This helps you to understand the hypnotherapeutic process and decide if you feel it is right for you.

But there is another important aspect to this. It also allows me to get an idea of whether I think I can help. Not everybody responds well to hypnotherapy, and those that are unlikely to can often be identified early on.

If, however, we have a strong connection and I believe that you are ready to change, then we can go ahead and book your first session. In many cases, only two sessions are needed to help with anxiety of any kind.

If you would like to book your consultation and also get a FREE 20-minute deep relaxation download of mine, please just fill in my contact form or call 0800 122 3073. Sessions can take place at my practices in London and Winchester – or, for maximum convenience, online.

Get your FREE consultation & FREE download (value £50) today.

Arrange your free consultation to see how Hypnotherapy can help you. We’ll also give you a free ‘Accelerated Relaxation Audio Programme’ worth £17.99.

Arrange your free consultation to see how Hypnotherapy can help you. We’ll also give you a free ‘Accelerated Relaxation Audio Programme’ worth £17.99.
Screengrab of the Accelerated Relaxation Programme inside iPhone 14
FREE 20-minute consultation
FREE 2-hour audio worth £17.99
10% discount on all treatments
Email Address *
Phone *
Newsletter 1