The Truth Behind Your High Functioning Anxiety: 5 Important Things You Might Not Know

high functioning anxiety

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Have you ever felt like you are functioning well and yet, at the same time, felt like anxious thoughts are crippling you? If so, you may have high functioning anxiety. High functioning anxiety is an anxious state that looks different than other forms of anxiety because while it can be high energy and high productivity on the surface – under the surface lies a very different story. Keep reading to learn more about this type of anxiety that is often overlooked.

What is High Functioning Anxiety (HFA)?

High Functioning Anxiety (HFA) is a type of anxiety that can be difficult to recognize and understand. It isn’t typically associated with the same high levels of distress or impairment as other forms of anxiety. However, it can still significantly impact one’s life if left untreated. HFA is characterized by high levels of worry, stress, and difficulty managing emotions.

This type of anxiety is often seen as an invisible struggle since it can be hard to recognize and accept. But, just because it is not easily seen does not mean it should be ignored.

High Functioning Anxiety is different from other anxiety forms because you seem to manage life well. You can appear high energy and high functioning on the outside, yet underneath there is a high level of distress. It is often described as a high level of tension in your body and an overall feeling of being unable to relax.

Anxiety in Each Season

The manifestation of high functioning anxiety can vary depending on the season. Anxiety can look like a wide range of things in the context of each season.


Springtime can have a tendency to generate an influx of ambition and productivity, often masking the anxious emotions hiding beneath its surface. You could also be worried about your health; spring often brings a heightened awareness to our physical and emotional states, which can be anxiety-inducing. Allergies can also be a trigger for high functioning anxiety in the springtime.

Some common anxieties during spring could be:

  • being overwhelmed with too many tasks
  • feeling like you’re not good enough or not living up to your high standards
  • fear of failure or procrastination


During the summer months, if you have HFA, you may experience higher stress levels due to increased social activities or responsibilities. You may find yourself constantly worrying about plans, whether you’re prepared for your commitments, or if you’re missing a significant opportunity.

Common anxieties during summer could be:

  • feeling anxious about attending social events
  • fear of missing out on fun activities
  • overthinking every decision you make concerning your plans


During the fall months, high functioning anxiety may feel like being overwhelmed by the schedule change. This could be due to increased workloads or tasks, difficulty adjusting to new routines, or fear of missing out on something. You may be worried about staying organized and completing tasks on time.

Common anxieties during fall could be:

  • feeling overwhelmed with the increased workload
  • fear of not meeting high standards
  • struggling to keep up with the changing schedules.


During winter, high functioning anxiety can manifest as a sense of dread or feeling out of control. You may feel like you’re not doing enough or that you’re unable to manage all of your responsibilities. You may find yourself worrying about the future and feeling anxious about the approaching holidays.

Common anxieties during winter could be:

  • feeling overwhelmed by upcoming holiday plans
  • fear of not living up to high expectations
  • worrying about the future

Anxiety in Different Areas of Your Life

If you have high functioning anxiety, you are possibly experiencing it in multiple areas of your life. This could include work, family relationships, friendships, or school. You may worry excessively about outcomes and performance in these areas or feel you need to be constantly working.


At work, you may be worrying about your performance or a project outcome. You may feel like you need to be doing something constantly and that nothing is good enough.

Family Relationships

In family relationships, high functioning anxiety may present itself as feeling like you need to constantly be “on” and not let anyone down. You may also worry about your ability to be a good parent or spouse.


With friendships, high functioning anxiety may manifest as feeling like you’re not good enough or that no one wants to spend time with you. You may worry about saying the wrong thing or being disliked by your peers.


HFA may present itself with school as feeling like you must constantly be studying or doing something productive. You may worry about getting good grades and failing to meet high expectations.

Causes of HFA

Various factors, including a traumatic experience, genetics, environment, and lifestyle, can cause high Functioning Anxiety. Therefore, it is essential to understand which factors are contributing to your high functioning anxiety so that you can work towards addressing and managing them.

Some possible causes of HFA include:

  • A traumatic experience – death, breakup, or loss of a job
  • Genetics – being predisposed to anxiety due to family history
  • Environment – high-stress or high-pressure environment
  • Lifestyle – lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, or excessive use of technology

Symptoms of High Functioning Anxiety

The symptoms of high functioning anxiety can vary from person to person.

Symptoms may include:

  • feeling overwhelmed
  • worrying excessively
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling on edge or irritable
  • racing thoughts
  • physical restlessness
  • insomnia or nightmares

It is essential to recognize the signs of high functioning anxiety to take steps toward managing it. If you are experiencing high functioning anxiety, talk to a mental health professional for help with developing healthy coping strategies.

You can reach out to a therapist at Makin Wellness by calling 833-274-4325 or booking online through our website,

Healthy Coping Mechanisms for High Functioning Anxiety

It is important to find healthy coping strategies to manage high functioning anxiety. Some helpful strategies include:

  • practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques
  • exercising regularly
  • getting enough sleep
  • talking to a mental health professional
  • eating healthy foods
  • spending time with supportive friends and family
  • sticking to a routine

Using Therapy to Work Toward Healing from HFA

If you are experiencing high functioning anxiety, reaching out and talking to a mental health professional can be beneficial. Therapy can help you process any unresolved issues from the past and work toward healing. A therapist at Makin Wellness can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for high functioning anxiety and work toward managing it. Reach out to us today and let us help you with your high functioning anxiety.

High functioning anxiety can be hard to deal with, but it is important to remember that you can manage it with the right coping strategies. If your high functioning anxiety is causing you significant distress, contact Makin Wellness for help. Our team of professionals can work with you to develop the best plan for managing your high functioning anxiety.

If you’re ready to take the next step and make an appointment, call us at 833-274-4325 book online through our website, We’re here to help you find the healing and support that you need!

Picture of Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness research team. The content on this page is not a replacement for professional diagnosis, treatment, or informed advice. It is important to consult with a qualified mental health professional before making any decisions or taking action. Please refer to our terms of use for further details.

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