By Linda K. Laffey, MFT

High-functioning anxiety can cause different symptoms in different people. In fact, some people with high-functioning anxiety might not even fully realize that they’re dealing with this issue.
Though “high-functioning anxiety” isn’t a diagnosis in and of itself, it refers to an anxiety condition that exists within people who still consider themselves to be quite functional and live relatively normal lives. However, even if you are high functioning, it’s still incredibly difficult to go through your day-to-day life with anxiety.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage your anxiety and make your life a little easier. Check out some of these helpful tips.

Utilize Deep Breathing

Obviously, breathing is a naturally occurring part of our lives. We breathe intuitively, without having to think about it. However, deep breathing calls for more intention and focus.
When you feel acute anxiety setting in, taking deep breaths can do wonders for calming you down. A very common (and effective) rhythm to keep in mind is the 4-7-8 routine. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath in for 7 seconds, and then release slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. You can repeat it as necessary.
Not only is it an effective breathing method for calming anxiety, but it can also help physical symptoms, such as an increased heart rate.

Practice Mindfulness

Another great exercise to start including in your daily routine is mindfulness. When you think about your daily routine, you’re most likely going through the motions without necessarily thinking too deeply about things. Mindfulness causes you to really consider your actions. Furthermore, it ensures that you remain present in the moment.
So, if you’re feeling anxious, take a step back and rely on your senses. Think about what you can see, taste, touch, hear, and smell. Focus on each of these sensations. Be mindful of them. This exercise is especially great for those who feel out of touch with reality when they get anxious.

Reduce Caffeine Intake

Coffee is an absolute necessity for many people, but unfortunately, it can also worsen anxiety. Even if you don’t want to fully give up your daily dose of caffeine, consider reducing it.
Think about how much coffee you consume in a day, and make a genuine effort to have a cup or two less. Or set a time limit for yourself. For example, don’t allow yourself to have any more caffeine after 2 pm. You may just find that you feel much less anxious and jittery by reducing caffeine intake (or just switching to decaf!).

Take Up a Thoughtful Hobby

Hobbies such as yoga, painting, baking, or meditation are great ways to calm anxiety. They require you to be mindful and introspective, which are great for combating anxiety and feeling more calmness in your life. Not only that, but they may also help you focus more on your work life.
The possibilities for hobbies are virtually endless. It’s important to find one that relaxes you, makes you feel good, and doesn’t feel stressful.

Talk to a Therapist

One of the best ways to manage your anxiety is to seek out professional help. A therapist can help you pinpoint exactly what areas of your life make you most anxious. Furthermore, they can help you realize what triggers your anxiety, and how you can take active steps towards minimizing your symptoms when they flare up.
When you have high-functioning anxiety, you may feel like you don’t need help. Or you may be inclined to feel like it isn’t that bad, or that you’re handling it fine on your own. This may be the case, but most likely, there is a certain amount of suffering that comes along with your anxiety.
You don’t have to suffer, and you certainly don’t have to go through your anxiety alone. Talk to a therapist, so you can go from having high-functioning anxiety to simply just being high functioning!

Take the first step…

If you’re ready to deal with high-functioning anxiety, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT

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