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17th May 2023

From Chaos to Calm – from Wishing Wellness

From Chaos to Calm

My name is Lauren, and I am the Director of Wishing Wellness. I provide therapy for individuals with a focus on those who are feeling overwhelmed, struggling with anxiety and who are looking to discover their purpose and a sense of calm. I also run retreat days offering a space for people to reset and recharge.

More recently, through my own experiences and work I have been drawn to supporting those who are experiencing high-functioning anxiety. To others these people appear to have it altogether. They are high achieving, ambitious, can solve problems and focus on the small details that bring opportunities together. However, inside, they are consumed by feelings of self-doubt. They have racing thoughts, they overthink, are perfectionistic and put other peoples’ needs well before their own. If these resonate with you read on for my top tips to manage anxiety and bring calm to the chaos.

As you can imagine there is no quick fix to rid yourself of years’ worth of habits and they ways you have learned to manage the world around you. However, if the above resonates with you read on for my top tips to manage anxiety and bring calm to the chaos.

Tip 1: Nurturing Self-Care

If you review your daily, weekly, or monthly routine, as a person with high-functioning anxiety, you may find that your time is carved out generally to support other people. Your work, your family, your friends, your duties all come before that very important buzzword of the moment – ‘self-care’.

Currently, self-care will appear as a luxury, as something you don’t have time for and will feel guilty even considering bringing this into your life. However, self-care is vital for your wellbeing. That age of phrase of ‘setting yourself on fire to keep other people warm’ is very relevant here. If your people-pleasing tendencies were kept at bay and the tasks you submit were slightly less than perfect what is the worst that could happen? Think about the likelihood of those ‘What if?’ statements you use. What if I lose my job? What is that person falls out with me?

As a high-functioning individual with anxiety, it’s common to find your daily, weekly, or monthly routine focused on supporting others. Work, family, friends, and various responsibilities often take precedence over the buzzword of the moment—self-care.

While it may seem like a luxury or something you don’t have time for, self-care is, in fact, vital for your overall well-being. The phrase “setting yourself on fire to keep other people warm” holds particular relevance here. Consider what would happen if you kept your people-pleasing tendencies at bay, allowed yourself to submit tasks that are slightly less than perfect and ultimately put yourself first.

By establishing healthy routines that prioritise self-care, you create a solid foundation for managing high-functioning anxiety and promoting your own well-being. This includes taking care of not only your mental and emotional state but also your physical health through proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

Nutrition: Fuelling Your Body and Mind

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in managing anxiety and maintaining overall wellness. By consuming a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, you provide your body and mind with the fuel they need to function optimally. A diet that includes whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats can support your brain health, stabilise mood, and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Exercise: Harnessing the Power of Movement

Engaging in regular physical activity is an effective way to alleviate anxiety symptoms and promote mental well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that help reduce stress and boost your mood. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a gym workout, find activities that you enjoy and incorporate them into your routine. Exercise not only improves your physical health but also enhances your mental resilience and helps you manage anxiety more effectively.

Sleep: Prioritising Rest and Recovery

Adequate sleep is essential for your overall functioning and mental well-being. During sleep, your body repairs and restores itself, and your brain processes emotions and consolidates memories. Make sleep a priority by creating a calming bedtime routine, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and creating a sleep-friendly environment. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to ensure you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day with greater resilience.

Remember, establishing healthy routines that include proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep is not selfish—it’s an investment in your own well-being. By prioritizing self-care, you equip yourself with the necessary tools to effectively manage high-functioning anxiety and lead a more fulfilling life.

Tip 2: Finding Mindful Moments: Quietening the Noise Within

Individuals with high-functioning anxiety often appear calm and capable on the outside, while inside, a storm of overwhelming emotions rages on. The constant noise and chaos within can lead to a multitude of unhelpful feelings and heightened anxiety.

To begin quietening this internal storm, practicing mindfulness offers a simple yet powerful approach. Some may dismiss mindfulness as too difficult or unsuitable for them, but it’s important to start small and embrace the concept of practice. Mindfulness is, indeed, a practice—a skill that can be developed over time. Just like learning to ride a bike, you didn’t set an unrealistic target in the first week. Instead, you made it more manageable by breaking it down into smaller tasks and seeking guidance when needed.

Finding mindful moments in your daily life can be as basic as taking a few intentional breaths or pausing to fully experience your surroundings. Here’s a simple example of a basic mindfulness practice you can incorporate:

Mindful Breathing:

    • Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or stand
    • Close your eyes or focus your gaze on a fixed point
    • Bring your attention to your breath—observe the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body
    • Notice the natural rhythm of your breath without trying to control it
    • If your mind wanders, gently redirect your focus back to your breath
    • Engage in this practice for a few minutes, gradually extending the duration as you feel more comfortable

By consistently practicing even the simplest form of mindfulness, you can begin to cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and develop the ability to observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Over time, this practice can help quiet the storm within and provide a sense of calm amidst the chaos.

Remember, mindfulness is a journey that requires patience and commitment. Starting small and gradually building upon your practice will help you make mindfulness an integral part of your daily routine. As you continue to embrace mindful moments, you’ll discover the transformative power of this practice in managing high-functioning anxiety and nurturing your overall well-being.

Tip 3: The Importance of a Support Network

High-functioning anxiety can often make you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, silently battling the chaos within. While you may appear capable and strong to others, it’s crucial to recognise that you don’t have to face this struggle alone. Building a support network and identifying your non-negotiables can be transformative in navigating moments of high-functioning anxiety.


Self-Awareness: The Key to Understanding Yourself

Developing self-awareness is an essential first step in managing high-functioning anxiety. It involves paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, as well as recognising your triggers—those situations, people, or circumstances that tend to amplify your anxiety. By understanding your unique triggers, you gain valuable insights into how your anxiety manifests and can take proactive measures to mitigate its impact.

Taking the time to self-reflect and journal about your experiences can help you uncover patterns and identify recurring triggers. Additionally, consider seeking professional support, such as therapy or counselling, to deepen your self-awareness and gain professional guidance in managing your high-functioning anxiety.

Securing a Support Network: Allies in Your Journey

One of the most powerful resources in managing high-functioning anxiety is a strong support network. Surrounding yourself with understanding and empathetic individuals who can offer emotional support, encouragement, and practical help can make a world of difference.

Here are a few key elements to consider when building your support network:

  • Trusted Friends and Family: Reach out to those closest to you—friends and family members who have demonstrated understanding and compassion. Share your experiences and let them in on what you’re going through. Having a support system that understands your challenges can provide a sense of validation and comfort.
  • Support Groups or Online Communities: Seek out support groups or online communities where individuals with similar experiences gather. Engaging with others who understand what it’s like to live with high-functioning anxiety can offer a safe space for sharing, learning, and connecting.
  • Mental Health Professionals: Consider working with a therapist, counsellor, or coach who specialises in anxiety. They can provide professional guidance, teach coping strategies, and help you develop personalized tools for managing your anxiety.

Non-Negotiables: Identify Your Self-Care Essentials

When it comes to managing high-functioning anxiety, establishing non-negotiable self-care practices is crucial. These are the activities or routines that nourish your mind, body, and spirit and help you maintain balance in moments of stress. Your non-negotiables may include:

  • Prioritising daily relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle yoga
  • Carving out time for hobbies or activities that bring you joy and help you unwind
  • Setting boundaries and learning to say “no” when necessary to protect your energy and wellbeing
  • Engaging in regular physical exercise to release tension and boost your mood
  • Taking breaks throughout the day to recharge and rejuvenate

By identifying your non-negotiables and integrating them into your routine, you create a foundation of self-care that supports your overall wellbeing and resilience.

Remember, building a support network and prioritising self-care are ongoing practices. It takes time to cultivate meaningful connections and develop sustainable self-care routines. Embrace the journey, be patient with yourself, and remember that you are not alone.

Together with the support of others and a commitment to self-care, you can navigate the challenges of high-functioning anxiety and cultivate a more balanced and fulfilling life.

To be the first to gain access to our full ‘From Chaos to Calm’ workbook sign up here:

* Please be aware that any advice shared across the GGC channels isn’t intended to replace medical advice and if you are concerned about your health you should speak with your GP *

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