5 Advantages of Living with High Functioning Anxiety

high functioning anxiety

Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States? In fact, around 40 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population, report that anxiety significantly affects their day-to-day lives.

Anxiety isn’t easy to live with, and it gets a bad rap. But it can also motivate people for success. In fact, many highly successful and accomplished people live with anxiety. Today we’re not going to look at the bad side of anxiety. Rather, we’re going to look at 5 advantages of living with high functioning anxiety.

You Stay Busy

As we mentioned above, having anxiety can actually be very motivating. Feeling anxious about paying the bills, eating healthy or being a good parent can be positive motivators to work hard. People with this type of anxiety typically stay busy, and see great success in areas of their lives as a result. The key is to channel the anxiety into positive motivation.

You Shoot for Perfection 

People with high anxiety tend to be perfectionists. Why? Achieving a sense of perfection reduces anxiety. However, it is important to recognize that this can become a double-edged sword. Too high of standards can cause even more anxiety, creating a never-ending cycle.

While it’s important to realize that perfection is never attainable. There’s something to the saying, ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you’ll miss, you’ll land among the stars.’ People who work toward perfection may not achieve it, but if they can learn to stop when they have reached the point of “good enough,” perfectionists can still become very high achievers.

You Don’t Let People Down

In fact, one of your biggest fears is letting people down. People with anxiety put a ton of pressure on themselves. Because you are always striving to do the right thing and be the best you can for others, you work hard to make sure you don’t let others down. People know that they can count on you, and that’s great. The key to finding balance here is making sure that you’re not always putting others’ needs before your own. Perhaps surprisingly, once you nurture yourself first, you’re much better able to take care of others.

You Usually have a Plan B

When you’re feeling anxious about doing something, you make a plan, and then another plan, and maybe even another backup plan, just in case. Over-planning can create a sense of control or security, which is why many people with anxiety embrace it.

“Over-planning comes from anxiety,” says Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. “It’s a way of dealing with worry and can give people a false sense of control. It can go too far when a person loses flexibility, when they have set goals that are unrealistic or too rigid.”

When something goes wrong, you typically have a backup plan, and that’s great. However, when things don’t go as planned, trying to be flexible and going with the flow can help to reduce anxiety for not only yourself, but also for those around you.

You’re Pleasantly Surprised when Things Go Well

When you suffer from anxiety, you often don’t expect that things will go as planned (hence, the over-planning we mentioned above). Some say that you plan for the worst, but hope for the best. So when things do go well, it’s almost like getting a little gift.

Living with Anxiety Isn’t Easy

While we chose to look at the advantages of living with anxiety in today’s post, having anxiety isn’t an easy cross to bear. If you feel that living with anxiety is negatively impacting your life, reach out to your primary care doctor, who will be able to make recommendations to help you feel some relief.


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