What is High Functioning Anxiety

Everything You Need to Know: What is High Functioning Anxiety?

High functioning anxiety is a term you might have come across if you've ever felt anxious yet managed to keep everything together on the outside. It's about those who, despite feeling constant worry and stress, appear successful and composed. In this blog, we'll explore what a high functioning anxiety disorder is, how to recognize its signs, and ways to manage it effectively. Whether you suspect you have it or know someone who might, understanding this condition is the first step toward managing it better.

How to recognize signs of high functioning anxiety

What is High Functioning Anxiety?

High functioning anxiety refers to individuals who experience generalized anxiety disorder but still manage to function well in their daily lives. They might excel at work, keep up with social obligations, and appear outwardly calm. However, underneath, they often feel a continuous sense of worry and unease.

This type of anxiety can be tricky because it doesn't fit the typical picture of anxiety disorders that many people are familiar with. Instead of being paralyzed by fear or avoiding situations, people with high functioning anxiety tend to push through their discomfort, often excelling at what they do. However, this doesn't mean they're not struggling. Their anxiety is very real, just well-hidden.

Signs of High Functioning Anxiety

Recognizing high functioning anxiety can be challenging since individuals often mask their symptoms. Here are some common signs triggers high functioning anxiety:

  • Perfectionism: Striving for flawlessness and being overly critical of oneself.
  • Overthinking: Constantly replaying scenarios in your head and worrying about future events.
  • Procrastination followed by intense productivity: Delaying tasks due to fear of failure, then rushing to complete them perfectly.
  • People-pleasing: Going out of your way to make others happy, often at your own expense.
  • Inability to relax: Feeling guilty when taking time off or finding it hard to unwind.
  • Physical symptoms: Experiencing headaches, muscle tension, or stomach issues due to constant stress.
Tips for managing high functioning anxiety

Self-Management Techniques for High Functioning Anxiety

Managing high functioning anxiety involves a combination of strategies that cater to both your mind and body. These techniques not only help reduce anxiety symptoms but also enhance your overall well-being. By integrating these practices into your daily routine, you can achieve a more balanced and fulfilling life. Here are some effective self-management techniques to consider:


Aromatherapy can be a simple yet effective way to manage anxiety. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and bergamot have calming properties. You can use them in a diffuser, add a few drops to your bath, or apply them to your skin with a carrier oil. The soothing scents can help reduce feelings of anxiety and promote relaxation.

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Finding activities that help you unwind and reduce stress is crucial. This could be anything from regular exercise, which releases endorphins, to engaging in hobbies like painting, gardening, or reading. These activities distract your mind and provide a sense of accomplishment and joy.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you stay grounded and manage your anxiety. Even a few minutes of mindfulness practice daily can make a big difference in how you handle stress.

Setting Realistic Goals

Setting achievable goals is essential to prevent burnout. Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps, and celebrate your progress along the way. This approach can reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and help you maintain a sense of control.

Developing a Support System

Having a support system is vital for managing anxiety. Talk to friends and family about your anxious feelings often, and don't hesitate to ask for help when needed. Surrounding yourself with understanding and supportive people can make a significant difference.

Maintaining Balance

Maintaining a balanced work life balance involves setting boundaries and making time for relaxation and self-care. Avoid overcommitting yourself and prioritize activities that promote well-being. Ensuring you have time to recharge can help you manage your anxiety better.

Limiting Stressors

Identify and limit stressors in your life where possible. This might involve making changes in your work environment, simplifying your schedule, or learning to say no. Reducing unnecessary stress can help you focus on what truly matters and improve your overall mental health.

Tips for managing high functioning anxiety

Natural Solutions for Managing High Functioning Anxiety

Managing high functioning anxiety can be effectively supported by incorporating natural solutions into your daily routine. These approaches not only help in alleviating anxiety symptoms but also promote a holistic sense of well-being. Here are some natural strategies to consider:

Aromatherapy Revisited

In addition to using essential oils like lavender and chamomile, consider integrating other calming elements into your environment:

  • Scented Candles: Choose candles with soothing scents such as vanilla, sandalwood, or eucalyptus. Lighting a candle during your evening routine can help create a tranquil atmosphere.
  • Pillow Sprays: Using a lavender or chamomile pillow spray before bed can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
  • Aromatherapy Diffusers: These devices disperse essential oil molecules into the air, providing continuous aromatherapy benefits throughout the day.
  • Essential Oil Roll-Ons: Essential roll on oils allow you to apply essential oils directly to your skin. Plus, they are portable, so you can take them anywhere you go. 
  • DIY Aromatherapy Projects: Make your own calming sachets or bath salts using essential oils and dried herbs.
Using CBD roll on oils to manage high functioning anxiety

Mindfulness and Meditation

Deepening your mindfulness practice can have a profound impact on managing anxiety:

  • Guided Meditations: Explore apps or online platforms that offer guided meditation sessions. These can provide structure and support for those new to meditation.
  • Local Yoga Classes: Joining a yoga class can offer both physical and mental benefits. The community aspect can also provide social support.
  • Mindfulness Apps: Use apps like Headspace or Calm to incorporate mindfulness exercises into your daily routine.
  • Nature Walks: Practice mindfulness by taking walks in nature. Focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around you to stay present and reduce anxiety.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for managing mental disorders and high functioning anxiety:

  • Balanced Diet: Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Foods like salmon, berries, and leafy greens can boost your mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Regular Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Activities like swimming, cycling, and hiking can be both enjoyable and beneficial.
  • Adequate Sleep: Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation. Avoid screens before bed and opt for reading or listening to calming music.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
  • Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both substances can increase anxiety and disrupt sleep. Opt for herbal teas or water instead.

Can CBD Help Manage High Functioning Anxiety?

CBD is a compound found in cannabis plants that has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, particularly in managing stress. Unlike THC, another compound found in cannabis, CBD does not have intoxicating effects, making it an attractive option for those seeking relief without the "high."

How CBD May Help with Anxiety

Research suggests that CBD may help manage anxiety by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating mood, stress, and other physiological functions. Some studies have found that CBD can help reduce symptoms of anxiety by influencing the activity of certain receptors in the brain, which are involved in mood regulation.

CBD Products for Anxiety Management

There are various CBD products available that people use to manage anxiety, including:

  • CBD Gummies: CBD gummies are easy to use, have consistent servings, and provide some people with a preferable method for managing stress and anxiety.
  • CBD Tinctures: These are liquid extracts that are taken sublingually (under the tongue). These CBD oils absorb quickly and can provide powerful relief. CBD tinctures also allow users an easy and more cost-effective way to take larger servings of CBD. 
  • CBD Capsules: These are a convenient option for those who prefer a traditional supplements.
  • CBD Roll-Ons: Creams and lotions infused with CBD can be applied to the skin and may help with localized anxiety symptoms, such as muscle tension.

Integrating CBD Into Your Anxiety Management Plan

While CBD can be a helpful tool in managing high functioning anxiety, it's essential to approach it as part of a broader strategy. Always start by consulting with a healthcare professional and getting their input to determine the appropriate dosage and product for your needs. Additionally, remember that what works for one person may not work for another, so it may take some experimentation to find the right fit for you.

Man on a rock. What is high functioning anxiety.

Developing a Balanced Approach to Anxiety Management

Effectively managing high functioning social anxiety disorder requires a holistic approach. Here are some additional interesting techniques to consider:

Creative Outlets

Engaging in creative activities can be a powerful way to reduce anxiety:

  • Art Therapy: Drawing, painting, or sculpting can help you express and process your emotions.
  • Writing: Keeping a journal or writing stories can provide an outlet for your thoughts and feelings.
  • Music: Playing an instrument, singing, or listening to music can be incredibly soothing.

Pet Therapy

Spending time with animals can significantly reduce anxiety:

  • Pet Ownership: Caring for a pet can provide companionship and a sense of purpose.
  • Therapy Animals: Interacting with trained therapy animals can offer comfort and reduce stress.
  • Animal-Assisted Activities: Volunteer at an animal shelter or participate in programs that involve animals.


Helping others can give you a sense of accomplishment and reduce feelings of anxiety:

  • Community Service: Find local organizations that need volunteers and offer your time and skills.
  • Support Groups: Join or create support groups where you can share experiences and strategies for managing anxiety.

Digital Detox

Limiting screen time can improve your mental and physical health:

  • Set Boundaries: Establish specific times to check emails and social media.
  • Unplug Regularly: Dedicate time each day to disconnect from digital devices and engage in offline activities.

By integrating a variety of strategies and maintaining a balanced approach, you can effectively manage high functioning anxiety and improve your overall quality of life.

Waves crashing against rocks

Online Resources for Managing High Functioning Anxiety

In today's digital age, accessing information and support for managing high functioning anxiety is easier than ever. Online resources offer a wealth of knowledge, tools, and communities for individuals seeking guidance on their mental health journey. Here are some valuable online resources to explore:

  1. Websites and Blogs: Numerous websites and blogs dedicated to mental health provide articles, tips, and personal stories related to managing anxiety. Websites like Verywell Mind, Psych Central, and Anxiety.org offer comprehensive information on anxiety disorders, including high functioning anxiety.
  2. Mobile Apps: There are several mobile apps designed to support individuals in managing their anxiety and promoting mental well-being. Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer offer guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and relaxation techniques to help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  3. Online Support Groups: Joining online support groups or forums can provide a sense of community and connection with others who are experiencing similar challenges. Websites like Reddit and HealthUnlocked host various anxiety-related forums where individuals can share experiences, offer support, and exchange coping strategies.
  4. Social Media Communities: Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook host communities and accounts dedicated to mental health advocacy and awareness. Following accounts such as @TheMighty, @NAMICommunicate, and @AnxietyUK on Instagram can provide uplifting content, coping tips, and encouragement.
  5. YouTube Channels: Many mental health professionals and advocates create educational content on YouTube to help individuals better understand and manage their anxiety. Channels like Therapy in a Nutshell, Kati Morton, and The Anxiety Guy offer informative videos on anxiety disorders and practical coping techniques.

While online resources can be valuable tools for learning about anxiety and developing coping strategies, it's essential to remember that they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

If you suspect you may have high functioning anxiety or any other mental health condition, it's crucial to reach out to a qualified mental health professional for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan. A licensed therapist or psychiatrist can provide accurate diagnosis, offer evidence-based treatments, and support you on your journey to your mental health disorders and wellness.

Explore Your Options and Take Control

Managing high functioning anxiety requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses recognition, self-care, and seeking support when necessary. By acknowledging the signs of high functioning anxiety and understanding its impact on your daily life well, you can take proactive steps to mitigate its effects and improve your overall well-being.

Throughout this journey, implementing various self-care techniques is crucial. From practicing mindfulness and engaging in relaxation exercises to prioritizing healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise and adequate sleep, there are numerous strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine to manage anxiety effectively. By experimenting with different techniques, you can discover what works best for you and create a personalized anxiety management plan.

Seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the challenges of high functioning anxiety. Whether through therapy, support groups, or simply confiding in loved ones, having a strong support system can offer comfort, understanding, and encouragement along the way.

Taking control of high functioning anxiety is a journey that requires patience, perseverance, and self-compassion. By embracing this journey and actively using mental illness, and seeking out resources and strategies that support your mental well-being, you can empower yourself to live a more balanced and fulfilling life, free from the constraints of anxiety. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope and support available every step of the way.

Back to blog

Collapsible content