High-Functioning Anxiety: 5 Signs You’re Living with It

I'm Michelle!

Master Life Coach, Wife & Mom, Certified Nervous System Fitness Expert, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Podcaster, Attorney, and Deep Believer in Curiosity and Self-Compassion

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Let’s talk about something that often goes unnoticed but can have a huge impact on our lives: high-functioning anxiety. It’s tricky to recognize because society often rewards the traits that come with it. We get praised for being high achievers, organized, and dependable, not realizing these traits can stem from a nervous system stuck in fight or flight mode. This can take a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical health.

So, if you’re like me – high achieving, productive, and seemingly balancing everything like a pro – there might be more going on beneath the surface. Today, I want to share five signs that you might be living with high-functioning anxiety. Awareness is the first step towards change, and once you’re aware, you can start making choices that support your well-being. Let’s dive in!

1. High Achiever, But an Overthinker

If you’re a high achiever who constantly overthinks, this might resonate with you. You’re always analyzing everything – past conversations, decisions, and actions. This overthinking is tied to high-functioning anxiety and is driven by a fear of not meeting your high standards. You might find yourself dissecting every little detail, which can lead to a spiral of self-criticism and doubt.

The root cause is often a deep-seated fear of failure. This fear makes it hard to relax because your mind is always reviewing past events or planning future tasks. Recognizing this pattern is the first step. Once you’re aware, you can start working on breaking the cycle.

2. People Pleasing

Do you find yourself saying yes to everything and everyone, even when you don’t want to? This is a classic sign of people-pleasing, often rooted in a fear of rejection or disapproval. You might have started this pattern in childhood, always trying to keep everyone happy at the expense of your own needs.

This behavior is another manifestation of high-functioning anxiety. It stems from the same fight or flight response, making you prioritize others’ happiness over your own. Learning to set healthy boundaries and prioritize your own needs is crucial for breaking free from this exhausting cycle.

3. Low Self-Worth

Many women with high-functioning anxiety struggle with low self-worth, even if it’s not visible to others. You might be incredibly capable but still doubt yourself and set unrealistic expectations. This harsh inner critic can impact every aspect of your life, from the decisions you make to the risks you take.

It’s important to recognize that your worth is not tied to your achievements or how much you can do for others. You deserve to pursue your passions simply because you want to, without having to justify it to anyone. Embracing this mindset can be incredibly freeing and empowering.

4. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a coping mechanism that gives a false sense of control. It’s driven by a fear of failure or criticism, pushing you to pursue unattainable standards. This constant striving for perfection can lead to burnout and anxiety, as you’re never able to relax and accept things as they are.

The key here is to learn to feel safe in imperfection. Embrace the messy, the imperfect, and the human. Let go of the need to prove yourself and recognize that you are already enough. This shift can bring a profound sense of peace and freedom.

5. Procrastination

Procrastination is often misunderstood. It’s not about being lazy or unmotivated. For many women with high-functioning anxiety, it’s a freeze response to feeling overwhelmed. Your nervous system might enter a state of collapse, or you might wait until the last minute because you think you thrive under pressure.

This habit can create a cycle of stress and anxiety, as the constant release of stress hormones takes a toll on your body. Recognizing that procrastination is a response to overwhelm can help you develop healthier coping strategies and break free from this pattern.

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You my friend, are called to a life of fullness and abundance - no matter how wild this motherhood journey is. It's time to trade the exhaustion and overwhelm for peace and joy.  No more hot-mess express.  I've got you. 

Learn more

Let's redefine what's possible in motherhood.

cool as a cucumber, ENNEAGRAM 3, book hoarder, MATCHA LATTE LOVER, growth seeker, accountability partner, and your biggest cheerleader

I'm Michelle.
Your Master Coach.

You my friend, are called to a life of fullness and abundance - no matter how wild this motherhood journey is. It's time to trade the exhaustion and overwhelm for peace and joy.  No more hot-mess express.  I've got you. 

Learn more

Let's redefine what's possible in motherhood.


Cheers to starting your day right!  Make yourself comfortable and get ready to dig in, learn, and most importantly, take action!

You got it, Mama!

Game Changer

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