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High-Functioning Anxiety: What It Is and How to Address It
High-Functioning Anxiety: What It Is and How to Address It

On the surface, you’re keeping it all together: your career is going well, and you don’t miss deadlines. Those around you say you’re driven, successful, and an overachiever.

However, behind this facade, you experience persistent thoughts of worry and fear and may struggle daily.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you might have high-functioning anxiety. Read on to learn more about it.

What is high-functioning anxiety?

Individuals with high-functioning anxiety experience anxiety symptoms but can function reasonably well. To outside observers, these individuals appear to be in complete control; they seem calm, put together, the picture of success.

Some common traits of high-functioning anxiety include:

– Highly organised


– Detail-oriented

– Proactive

At first glance, these traits seem admirable. However, they are not as enviable once you look beyond the surface. These individuals channel so much effort and time into their work because they worry that something bad will happen or others will think poorly of them. In many instances, their actions and decisions are dictated by their anxiety.

These individuals often struggle with:

– Overthinking

– Self-doubt

– Fear of disappointing others leads to people pleasing

– Difficulty relaxing

– Need for reassurance

This anxiety may eventually interfere with your ability to carry out daily activities: your perfectionism may cause you to spend hours obsessing over miniscule details, and your fear of failure may keep you up at night. 

Effects of high-functioning anxiety

Anxiety is your body’s response to a perceived threat. When anxious, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, leading to muscle tension, the release of stress hormones, and increasing your heart rate—which can be detrimental if prolonged.

Additionally, you are prone to over-functioning; you may feel compelled to work extra hours or complete all tasks perfectly. Such practices eventually take a toll on your body and may lead to burnout.

Moreover, high-functioning anxiety can hurt your interpersonal relationships. As you feel the need to focus on your work and improve your performance, you may end up neglecting your friends and family.

Watch your symptoms 

If your high-functioning anxiety is left untreated, you may experience poor physical, mental, and emotional health

Therefore, it is crucial to watch your symptoms. Some symptoms to look out for are headaches, upset stomach, difficulty sleeping, and mood changes.

Create a support network

Anxiety can be an isolating condition. Many individuals with high-functioning anxiety fear being judged or criticised by others; as a result, they keep to themselves and believe that they must deal with their thoughts and behaviour on their own.

However, you do not have to do this alone. One helpful way to manage your anxiety is to build a support network of people who care for you.

Seek professional help

It is also best to seek professional help so you can better understand your condition and learn how to address your anxiety effectively.


Many individuals with high-functioning anxiety seem calm and successful on the surface. However, they are often struggling and would benefit from support, both on a personal and professional level.

For private counselling online in Singapore, check out ExecutiveCounselling.com. We also offer infidelity and marriage counselling, life coaching services, and career counselling for professionals.