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7 Signs that High-Functioning Anxiety is Driving Your Daily Life

Updated: Apr 8

Take a moment and consider what’s pushing you along in your day-to-day life: is your ambitions and interests, or anxiety?


Are you always on top of things at work because you are passionate about your career, or are you afraid of what might happen if work-related tasks get missed or don’t go according to plan?


On the outside, you may appear helpful, high-achieving, organized, and detail-oriented. Arriving early to meetings and appointments, planning ahead for all possibilities, and trying to please everyone may portray your professionalism. However, if these behaviors and habits are driven by an uncomfortable sense of being, you may be suffering from high-functioning anxiety.

‘High-functioning anxiety’ is a term often used to describe people who have frequent anxiety but function well, or at least appear to function well to other people. It is important to note that it is not a recognized mental health diagnosis.

This type of anxiety does not paralyze, but instead pushes you forward to achieve more. In general, most people don’t recognize that they are experiencing frequent anxiety due to the nature of this condition.


7 Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety

How do you know if you’re suffering from high-functioning anxiety at work? These are some of the typical signs that imply that anxiety might be your biggest motivator.

1. Perfectionism:

Setting excessively high standards for oneself may make you believe you are more valuable and secure in your work. However, this can lead to extreme stress of discomfort when these standards are not met. This can lead to spending excessive time on tasks or procrastination due to fear of not doing things perfectly.

2. Difficulty Delegating:

Feeling like no one else can complete tasks as well as you can, which can to a reluctance to delegate responsibilities, even when overwhelmed.

3. Avoidance of Social Situations:

Preferring to work alone or avoiding team gatherings and meetings due to fear of judgment, criticism, or feeling overwhelmed in social settings.

4. Constant Need for Reassurance:

Seeking reassurance from colleagues or supervisors frequently to validate performance, decisions, or actions taken.

5. Overcommitting and Difficulty Saying No:

Taking on more tasks than manageable due to the fear of disappointing others, resulting in overcommitment and potential burnout.

6. Time Urgency and Hyper-productivity:

Feeling constant pressure to complete tasks quickly, leading to rushing through assignments and an inability to relax or take breaks.

7. Rumination:

Having ongoing thoughts that are dark, negative, or sad in nature, such as feeling inadequate or a lessened sense of peace and security in your role or workplace.


The Importance of Addressing High-Functioning Anxiety

While receiving praise from co-workers and supervisors, or completing tasks up to your standards may help to temporarily relieve this anxiety, it is not a long-term, sustainable solution to managing your health and well-being.

We all experience anxiety sometimes - it is what signals that you should be paying attention to something important or potentially dangerous. However, if anxiety impacts your daily life to the point where you experience it multiple times throughout the day, this is a signal that it is a serious condition that should be addressed.


Anxiety, when experienced overwhelmingly, can limit your ability to function in many areas of life. You may feel the urge to pack your weekend schedule instead of relaxing, reject social interactions due to exhaustion, or make important decisions based on anxious thoughts rather than logical information. This can all quickly lead to burnout.

Just because you may be functioning “okay” does not mean you should try to handle this on your own. You know yourself best, and may be relieved to find the many resources to help you handle high-functioning anxiety.

FSEAP offers Resource Kits, counselling, and iCBT programs that can help you identify your anxiety and guide you toward a calmer, happier day-to-day experience. Reach out to FSEAP to learn more.


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