My Top Tips For Dealing With High Functioning Anxiety

For many of us, we have a Hollywood idea of what anxiety looks like. Heart palpitations, panic attacks, raised blood pressure, the works. However, the truth is that anxiety can look very different, particularly with high functioning anxiety.

For those who struggle with high functioning anxiety, the symptoms can be more along the lines of trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, issues with over-thinking, perfectionism, and people-pleasing. If this sounds like you, here are my top tips for handling life with high functioning anxiety.

1. Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness!

Yes, I know it is somewhat of a buzzword in the world of mental health (and beyond) at the moment, but there is a reason for that.  Practicing mindfulness takes a bit of getting used to and a reasonable amount of effort. The result, however, is an ability to lift yourself out of your anxious thoughts or behaviours and truly be present and in the moment. 

Mindfulness is particularly helpful with the overthinking or insomnia sides of high functioning anxiety, equipping you with the tools to help break the cycle of your thoughts and focus on what is actually happening.

2. Exercise!

Again, you’ve probably heard this a million times but with anxiety, it can really help, especially if you do it in the evening.  The logic behind it is pretty simple, the more tired you are at bedtime, the less likely you are to be kept awake by a racing mind. Full disclosure though, having tried this idea, it doesn’t stop your mind from racing when you get into bed, it simply means you fall asleep in the middle of your mind’s ramblings.

3. Fiction is your friend!

This one is a little different, more of a distraction technique than anything. If you are anything like me, you find it hard to relax and switch off your brain because you are so focused on doing everything perfectly and as soon as possible. That’s where fiction comes into it! The beauty of fiction, especially if the story really speaks to you, is that it provides an escape from your brain while tricking it into thinking you are doing more than you are. 

I will say, this tip is easier for people who already enjoy reading, but I genuinely believe that with the right book, anyone can enjoy reading. Find a new story to read, or dive back into an old favourite, and escape your brain for a little while.

4. CBD oil!

CBD (the non-psychoactive part of the hemp flower) has become something of a miracle cure for people with anxiety. It took me a really long time to try it, not because I didn’t believe it could work, simply because it was either too expensive, or I’d heard that it tastes horrible. 

When I found a CBD oil that was inexpensive and could be put into food and drink instead of holding it under your tongue, it was a game-changer! When I take CBD it relaxes the part of my brain that is prone to overthinking and perfectionism. Those thoughts are still there, but they are a lot quieter and more manageable on the days that I take CBD. Trust the hype on this one!

Coping with high functioning anxiety

So, if you are struggling with high functioning anxiety symptoms try a couple of these tips for a few weeks to see if they help!  As always, there are plenty of online support groups and social media pages that are great communities for those who are struggling. You don’t have to face it alone.

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