Anxiety can be an overwhelming mental disorder that can leave us breathless and powerless.
But what if I told you that your most negative traits are also your greatest superpowers?
Holistic anxiety and CBT therapist Alison Seponara discusses the 10 positive qualities of someone with high-functioning anxiety in an Instagram post, noting that someone who struggles with high-functioning anxiety has both positive and negative qualities.
Here’s what he had to say about the positive aspects of this otherwise difficult condition.
10 positive traits of people with high-functioning anxiety
1. Outgoing personality
It may be hard to believe, but those with high-functioning anxiety tend to have outgoing personalities. Yes, sometimes the people who smile and laugh the loudest may have a lot going on inside.
According to psychologist Adam Borland, a person with high-functioning anxiety may appear calm on the outside but feel very anxious.
Borland points out that the reason for this has to do with high-functioning individuals who want to mask their anxiety by controlling situations.
2. Always arrive early or on time
We all know that one person always arrives early or at least on time and maybe you are that person! The need for punctuality stems from the fact that people with anxiety are nervous about everyday situations, says the National Institute of Mental Health.
So while your anxiety makes you worry, it also keeps you from being late. Which in the long run can benefit you both in your personal and professional life.
3. Anticipatory planning
We’ve got to love a designer, and lucky individuals with high-functioning anxiety tend to be the best designers! Whether you’re planning a family vacation or an office party, these people are always on top of their game!
Luckily for them, their amazing planning pays off in the end, leaving them stress-free and with more time (and probably overthinking, if we’re being honest).
4. Excellent organizational skills
Even I can admit to being a pure freak at times, but anxious people can take it to a whole other level. To say some are “organized” is an understatement.
When you go rummaging through their closets or bags, you’ll probably find things color-coded and neatly stacked in alphabetical order if they have Living-Pinterest-Board anxiety.
In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Morra Aarons-Mele writes that some of the most successful people tend to experience high levels of anxiety. And it increases when you think about the amount of pressure these individuals have to go through on a daily basis.
Additionally, according to Karyn Hall, Ph.D. ,High-achieving students suffer from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and criminal behavior that are two to three times higher than the national average.
So the good news is that if you have anxiety, you are likely to be successful, but the bad news is that you may have a flood of other mental disorders that came along with it. Talk about a double-edged sword.
6. Attention to detail
The most detailed people tend to suffer from high-functioning anxiety. According to psychologist Alicia Clark, attention to detail in anxiety can easily turn into agitation, perfectionism and even obsession.
But it’s not all bad! Clark writes that your penchant for detail can help you in the workforce.
He explains that not only does the quality of work improve, but it can also create a basis for trust among colleagues. So financially, a win is a win.
Now I can relate to this all too well! Growing up, the biggest thing my family prided themselves on was keeping the house tidy and tidy. Did people in my family have high-functioning anxiety? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Those with high functioning anxiety tend to be the most organized and tidy people! Think of cleaning TikTok and count it to 10.
8. High energy
Those with high-functioning anxiety need to release that nervous energy somewhere. And what better way to do that than hitting the gym? You may not know this, but this feature can greatly help your anxiety.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
So not only will you get the body of your dreams, but you’ll also save on killing meds!
Individuals with high functioning anxiety tend to be the most helpful individuals ever! Need help moving your furniture at one in the morning? Your functional friend is your back!
And guess what? Being a helpful individual is associated with numerous benefits.
Research by Allan Luks in The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Doing Good for Others found that volunteering and philanthropy help relieve stress and improve physical and mental health, and we love it!
Nothing is more important than loyalty and high performing people know this better than anyone else. People with high-functioning anxiety are extremely loyal in relationships, says licensed professional counselor and high-functioning anxiety specialist Nancy Jane Smith.
So if you are dating someone who is very anxious, congratulations, they are probably the most loyal person in your life. And if you’re a highly anxious person, pat yourself on the back, that’s something to be proud of!
While these things may seem like superpowers, they’re only one side of the double-edged sword that is high-functioning anxiety.
Seponara writes: The truth is that HFA patients put on a show most of the time and always feel extreme anxiety. An HFA person can appear level-headed, calm, and keep everything together. But that’s not the whole picture.
If anxiety symptoms cause you anxiety, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional.
Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor’s degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career and family topics.
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