Anxiety is usually associated with panic attacks, constant worry, and persistent thoughts that are hard to control. However, anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Sometimes, it's difficult to recognize the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety as problematic. These symptoms may blend so seamlessly into your daily life that you mistake them for stress or insomnia.
Bearing this in mind, experts have identified seven common behaviors that many individuals with anxiety engage in behind closed doors.
Individuals with high-functioning anxiety often tend to delay tasks for hours when they're at home, even though they usually manage to accomplish things at work or when they're out with friends. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, you might postpone daily chores and neglect important responsibilities. Therefore, it's important to seek support from a professional or confide in someone you trust if you're struggling to find the motivation to complete everyday tasks.
A lot of individuals with high-functioning anxiety struggle to get a good night’s sleep. The act of putting off sleep due to stress or a busy schedule during the day is often referred to as sleep procrastination or revenge bedtime procrastination. Although everyone has a few sleepless nights during stressful life periods, consistent sleep disturbances can affect your overall well-being.
People with high-functioning anxiety often avoid text messages and find themselves making excuses to avoid social events. While staying at home is sometimes a valid form of self-care, confiding in your friends and openly expressing your emotions is beneficial for your mental health. So, if your anxiety prevents you from staying in touch with friends or engaging in activities you used to love, seeking help from a therapist might be a wise decision.
Anxiety often leads to excessive worry and focus on minor bodily symptoms that others may ignore. As a result, you may find yourself spending a significant amount of time searching for health conditions online. People with high-functioning anxiety often turn to Google for validation of their well-being and a sense that they aren’t the only ones experiencing certain symptoms. While it is understandable to take an active role in managing your health, you should reach out to a therapist if your worry becomes too hard to control.
It's pretty common for people to have conversations with themselves at some point in their lives. However, people with anxiety are notably more prone to self-talk. They often have deep conversations with themselves about things that disturb their peace, which might turn out to be an unhealthy coping mechanism. It's crucial to recognize when you're engaging in negative self-talk and seek help if needed.
Not all self-talk has to be negative, though. Sometimes, you might find yourself looking in the mirror and giving yourself some words of encouragement out loud. Being your own cheerleader is a great way to boost your self-motivation when you're feeling anxious or worried.
People with high-functioning anxiety may engage in various nervous habits like nail biting, picking at the skin around the nails, cracking knuckles, pulling hair, or pacing. These behaviors are typically not considered socially acceptable and can feel embarrassing. Although occasional nail biting may not cause any harm, it is important to seek support from a loved one or therapist if these compulsions interfere with your everyday activities.
While not everyone who creates lists necessarily has anxiety, it seems that many individuals with anxiety find comfort in this practice. Those who experience anxiety often struggle with decision making, and therefore may use lists to evaluate the pros and cons of a decision. Crafting lists can aid in identifying one's priorities by thoughtfully weighing the benefits and drawbacks of a significant choice. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that list-making can also serve as a coping mechanism for managing stress.
Living with anxiety can be tough, but it doesn't have to be an uphill battle. Remember, you don't have to face it alone. Don't hesitate to seek support because asking for help doesn't mean you're weak or incapable. We all need assistance at times, and it takes courage to acknowledge it and take action.