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Navigating High Functioning Anxiety: A Guide for Sensitive Souls

Navigating life as a highly sensitive person (HSP) or empath comes with unique challenges. This intersection of sensitivity and anxiety often creates a silent struggle that is not widely discussed. High-functioning anxiety, though not officially recognized in medical textbooks, is a very real experience for many.


In this podcast episode, holistic counselor Kristen Schwartz discusses this hidden battle and

offers guidance on finding inner peace and balance.


High-functioning anxiety acts as an engine, propelling HSPs forward, but often at a great cost. It manifests as a constant hum of worry, over-planning, and overthinking.


Every external change, whether a shift in a friend's energy or an unanswered text, can trigger a whirlwind of anxious thoughts, making the individual feel like everything is urgent and personal.

high functioning anxiety

For HSPs and empaths, this is compounded by their innate ability to absorb the emotions around them. They're processing not only their feelings but also those of others, leading to a mental state that's comparable to having multiple emotional browser tabs open simultaneously. The drive to ensure harmony and fix everything is a natural response, yet it comes with a heavy burden.



Recognizing this internal narrative as a form of anxiety is a crucial first step. From there, it's about developing strategies to manage it.


Grounding practices, such as mindful breathing, connecting with nature, or engaging in physical activities, are transformative for HSPs. They help shift the focus from the mind to the body, reducing overwhelm and aiding in present-moment awareness.


Setting boundaries is another important strategy. It's necessary to limit exposure to situations or individuals that can exacerbate anxiety. However, avoidance is not a long-term solution. Triggers can serve as guides towards healing and personal growth, highlighting areas that require attention.


Cultivating self-compassion is essential. Speaking to oneself with understanding and soothing words can help alleviate anxiety. It's not about reciting affirmations without feeling their impact but finding the specific words that resonate and soothe the nervous system.


Building a support network is equally vital. Sharing experiences and connecting with others who understand can be incredibly affirming and healing. In the right environment, vulnerability is not a weakness but a pathway to deeper connections and self-acceptance.


The episode also emphasizes the importance of embracing sensitivity and finding balance. Creating a personal sanctuary and establishing routines that anchor and bring joy are fundamental in managing high-functioning anxiety. Incorporating physical activity and healthy habits while recognizing and moving away from unhealthy ones is key.


Finally, seeking professional support through therapy, workshops, or literature can offer personalized strategies and insights into managing anxiety. It's about equipping oneself with a toolbox of coping mechanisms and understanding the roots of anxiety.


As we conclude this exploration of high-functioning anxiety in the highly sensitive person, it's important to remember that the journey involves continuous learning and adaptation. While the path to peace may seem elusive, it becomes more tangible with each step of understanding, self-care, and connection.


The Realized Empath community offers a space for HSPs and empaths to unite, find support, and embrace their sensitivity as a strength.


Remember, you are enough exactly as you are; your unique capacity to feel deeply is a gift to the world. The strategies and insights shared in this episode are just the beginning of a journey toward embracing and managing high-functioning anxiety as a highly sensitive individual.



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