High-Functioning Anxiety, and 6 signs you might have it.

Anxiety. Such a huge part of many people’s lives in this modern world we live in. Almost 18% of the population in Ireland have some form of anxiety.

The most common spoken about anxiety is the type of anxiety that’s associated with panic attacks, depression, difficulty leaving the house, a fear of being around people, and anxiety that people get when recovering from some sort of traumatic experience, like a breakdown.

High-functioning anxiety is spoken about a lot less, and is more prevalent in women than in men.  High-functioning anxiety can be so well hidden, that no-one may know you have it, and you can keep it a secret a lot easier. It is very common in women who are perceived to be ‘high-acheiver’, ‘perfectionists’ or ‘anal’. Also women that seem very rational and logical. Successful, or striving to be successful, busy, intelligent women. So how do you know if you have it?

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Here’s 10 signs that you might have high-functioning anxiety:



You’re often called anal, a perfectionist, or a high-acheiver. You can also come across as up-tight. People perceive you as very high functioning, always striving to get things done, but the truth is, you feel sick at the thought of missing deadlines, or having a messy house, or doing something wrong. You over-think things, dwell on everything, and worry so much that you’re failing, that you work so hard against this.


Compartmentalise your feelings

You always act as if everything is OK. You don’t like to show your emotions or when things aren’t going well, and you love to tell everyone that’s close to you, that things are ‘fine’. You feel that no-one would understand you, and that you’re just being dramatic when you do speak about things. You love to bottle things up, and hope they’ll go away. You hate talking through your worries and fears.


Acting unemotional

You don’t react to situations straight away, you don’t process feelings straight away. You act rational and calm when something happens, but the truth is, that couldn’t be further away from the truth. You switch into ‘it’s all fine’ mode, and people can often mistake that for you being unemotional.  So what happens is all these emotions and issues start to pile up, which turns into anxiety.

Everyone only sees the successes

People around you call you a high-acheiver, but they have no idea what it’s taken you to get there. Your anxiety makes you constantly write lists, clean the house, work, and stay very busy. People around you only see the successes, and not the sleepless nights, the anxiety, worry, stress, over-thinking, constant criticism of yourself and how you do things, and everything else that you experience on a day-to-day basis.


Biggest Fear

You’e biggest fear is letting people down. On a daily basis you call yourself  stupid, and not good enough. You constantly tell yourself you’re a bad mother, daughter, sister, friend, boss, colleague, and it never eases up . you feel really, really down about yourself and no-one knows this, apart from maybe your husband. You sometimes think people would be better of if you weren’t in their life, but deep down you know it’s just you feeling low in yourself.

It’s constant

You’re constantly checking your phone, making lists, and maybe you bite your nails, or fidget in some other way. You may over-eat or binge drink, looking for some escape or release, to calm your mind or your worry.


If this is you, remember that you’re not alone, and many, many women feel the same way as you do, but you may not ever know about it. I’ve listed a few things below that I know can really, really help ease this form of anxiety.


Confide in one person, preferably your husband/partner. Having one person in your life, that you can be really truthful with, really, really helps. To be able to sit down in the evening time, and work through your issues, no matter how cracked you think they sound, is priceless, and it’ll give your brain great relief.

Workout. You’ve just got to do this. It’s your medicine. You must make this a part of your weekly routine. It’s a great healthy outlet, where you can challenge all your frustrations to. You can really release so many emotions when you train. Resistance training and interval truing in particular, are really great for your mode, and can leave you feeling much more optimistic about everything.

Eating right. Not obsessing, this is the last thing you should do. Dieting is not for you. It’ll only be another tool, to which you can beat yourself up with. Wholesome, healthy food, eating at regular interal throughout the day, will help you feel nurtured.

Try to avoid excess of anything at the weekends. If you can’t do things in moderation, it may be time to knock it on the head for a little bit.

Water. Drink so much of it. Carry a bottle everywhere you go.

Replace the escapism you get from alcohol/food, with a really good novel. A healthy form of escapism.

Read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and also read Mindset by Carol Dweck.

Learn how to breathe, in a way that instantly can calm you down.

Understand that you are wrong when you thing bad things about yourself, and commit to working on it.

Find a hobby/outlet/community away from home, that you can work on yourself and spend time on yourself. That’s one of the main reasons our members at Inspire Fitness love it here.  Becaue it’s time for them. No mobile phone, no emails, no kids, no work. Just them, working out, and spending time on themselves.

I hope you found this useful,

Committed to your success,

Jessica Cooke

P.S If you’d like more information on the programs we offer at Inspire Fitness, you can request more information by clicking on this link. 

Jessica Cooke






Owner & Manager,

Inspire Fitness,

091 768806





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Jessica Cooke

Jessica has inspired hundreds of women to achieve and maintain their health & fitness goals at her two private training studios in Galway City.

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