10 Things You’re Probably Awesome At If You Have High-Functioning Anxiety

You're so used to performing under pressure that it's your superpower.

woman with high-functioning anxiety Ronny sefria / RayyaKreative, liliia rudchenko / rudchenko, and Vlada Karpovich / Pexels via Canva

Anxiety can be a crushing mental disorder that can leave us feeling breathless and powerless.

But what if I told you that what seem like your most negative traits could also be your greatest superpowers?

Holistic Anxiety and CBT Therapist Alison Seponara discusses in an Instagram post the 10 positive characteristics of someone with high-functioning anxiety, stating, “There are both positive and negative characteristics of someone struggling with high functioning anxiety.”


RELATED: What It’s Like To Live With High-Functioning Depression

Here's what she had to say about the most positive aspects of this otherwise difficult condition.


10 Positive Traits Of People With High-Functioning Anxiety

1. An outgoing personality

It may be hard to believe, but those with high-functioning anxiety tend to have an outgoing personality. Yes, sometimes the people smiling and laughing the hardest may — deep down inside — have a lot going through their minds.



According to psychologist Adam Borland, “An individual with high-functioning anxiety may appear calm on the outside but feel very anxious internally.”

Borland notes that the reasoning for this has to do with high-functioning individuals wanting to mask their anxiety by taking control over situations.


2. Always arriving early or on-time

We all know that one person who always arrives early, or at least on time — and maybe you’re that person! The need to be punctual stems from individuals with anxiety being nervous about everyday situations, says the National Institute of Mental Health.

So, even though your anxiety makes you worry, it also prevents you from being late. Which in the long run can benefit you when it comes to both your personal and work life.

3. Proactive planning

We’ve got to love a planner, and lucky individuals with high-functioning anxiety tend to be the best planners! Whether it’s planning family vacations or the office party — these individuals are always on top of their game!



And lucky for them, their amazing planning tends to pay off in the end, leaving them stress-free with more time to spare (and probably overthink, if we're being honest).


4. Great organizational skills

Even I can admit to being a clean freak from time to time, but individuals with anxiety can take it to a whole other level. Saying some are "organized" is an understatement.

When you go searching in their closet or bags you will probably find things color-coded and neatly stacked in alphabetical order if they have this Living-Pinterest-Board flavor of anxiety.

RELATED: 6 Things You Don't Realize You Do Because You Have High-Functioning Anxiety

5. Ambition

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Morra Aarons-Mele writes that some of the most successful people out there tend to face high levels of anxiety. And it adds up if you think about how much pressure these individuals must go through daily.


On top of that, according to Karyn Hall, Ph.D. ,“High-achieving students suffer from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and delinquent behavior at a rate that is two to three times higher than the national average.”

So, the good news is if you have anxiety, you are likely a high achiever — but the bad news is you may have a flood of other mental disorders that came along with it. Talk about a double-edged sword.



6. Attention to details

The people who are the most detailed tend to have high-functioning anxiety. According to psychologist Alicia Clark, “In the context of anxiety, detail orientation can easily translate to agitation, perfectionism, and even obsessiveness.”


But it’s not all bad! Clark writes that your proclivity for being detail-oriented can help you in the workforce.

She explains that not only does your work quality improve but it can also create a basis for trust amongst your colleagues. So financially speaking, a win is a win.

7. Orderliness

Now I can relate to this one all too well! Growing up, the greatest thing my family prided themselves on was keeping an orderly and tidy home. Did the people in my family have high-functioning anxiety? I would not be surprised.



Those with high-functioning anxiety tend to be the most orderly and tidy people out there! Think cleaning TikTok and times that by 10.


8. High energy

Those with high-functioning anxiety have to release that nervous energy somewhere. And what better way to do so than by hitting the gym? You may not know this, but this characteristic can greatly help with your anxiety.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, “Regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

So, not only do you get your dream body, but you are also saving a killing on medication!

9. Helpfulness

Individuals with high-functioning anxiety tend to be the most helpful individuals ever! Do you need help moving your furniture around at one o’clock in the morning? Your high-functioning bestie has your back!


And guess what? Being a helpful individual has been linked to numerous benefits.

A study conducted by Allan Luks, author of The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Other, found that “volunteering and charitable giving help ease stress, improving physical and emotional health” — and we love to see that!

10. Loyalty

Nothing matters more than loyalty and high-functioning individuals know this better than anyone. People who suffer from high-functioning anxiety are extremely loyal in relationships, says licensed professional counselor and high-functioning anxiety expert Nancy Jane Smith.




So, if you are dating someone who is highly anxious, congratulations they are probably the most loyal person in your life. And if you are a highly anxious individual well — pat yourself on the back, this is something to feel proud of!

While these things may seem like superpowers, they are only one side of the double-edged sword that is high-functioning anxiety.

Seponara writes, “The truth is, that people with HFA put on a show most of the time and are always feeling extreme anxiety. An HFA person may appear level-headed, calm, and to have it all together.” But that isn't the full picture.


If symptoms of anxiety are causing you distress, it's important to seek help from a qualified professional.

RELATED: What (Pretty Much) Everyone Gets Wrong About Anxiety

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.