Calm and anxious don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence. But they happen together more often than you might think.
If you live with anxiety, you may hide when you’re anxious or panicked. Outwardly, you can appear like you’re calm. But inside, your thoughts and heartbeat may be racing and you may feel nauseous.
Even if someone asks how you’re doing, you may respond with “It’s all good” or “I’m fine.” When it’s nothing but “fine” or “all good.”
Trying to appear calm when you’re anxious can be overwhelming. It can feel like a tug-of-war at times. But there are ways you can manage these back-and-forth feelings.
Feeling calm and anxious at the same time is similar to what people with high-functioning anxiety experience.
High-functioning anxiety is not considered an official diagnosis. But some people with anxiety might identify with this condition because they feel like they can function well in different areas of day-to-day life.
If you have high-functioning anxiety, you may notice that the symptoms of anxiety that may sideline others — such as overthinking and stressing — drive you to keep moving forward.
The constant worry and stress you feel are “just a part of who you are.” These feelings become the driving force behind your success.
If you have high-functioning anxiety, you may seem to others like you have it all together. But the way you feel on the inside can be vastly different.
Is it even possible to look calm and be anxious at the same time? Absolutely.
Anxiety can present through a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Some people with anxiety may hide these symptoms because they feel embarrassed or ashamed.
This isn’t uncommon.
The constant worry, guilt about inadequate performance, and the search for validation and approval from others can leave you feeling misunderstood and judged.
So, masking your symptoms behind a facade of calm can make you feel less “misunderstood.”
There are many ways to cope with anxiety. Medications, therapy, and self-help techniques can help manage anxiety and its symptoms.
Try talking with someone
If you’re experiencing shame or embarrassment about your feelings, consider reaching out to trusted friends or loved ones who won’t judge or make you feel “less than” for what you’re feeling.
Remember that you’re not alone. The person you’ve reached out to may even be experiencing the same feelings.
Consider making small changes
Incorporating small changes in your day-to-day life can also help lower levels of anxiety. Some techniques you can try at home include:
- getting enough sleep
- eating a healthy, balanced diet
- exercising consistently
- mindfulness exercises, like yoga or meditation
- deep breathing exercises
Having a good support system, such as family and friends, can also help relieve anxiety.
Try to learn your triggers
Try to pinpoint what causes your anxiety so that you can be better prepared to handle those feelings when they arise.
If you’re more anxious before a test or a big presentation, try some deep breathing exercises or quoting your favorite mantra to calm down quickly.
Consider reaching out to a mental health professional
If your anxiety symptoms have become worse or they’ve started to impact your day-to-day life, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. They may be able to recommend further treatment, if needed.
Treatment for anxiety typically includes psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Anxiety can make you feel isolated and misunderstood.
If you’ve been having trouble with anxiety but have been hesitant to seek help, you’re not alone. Of the millions of adults in the United States who have an anxiety disorder, just under 40% seek treatment.
Peer and support groups are a great tool for sharing experiences and providing a sense of community for people with mental health conditions. If you’re unsure about how to get help, these groups would be a great first step.
To find a local group near you, follow the links below and enter the search criteria for your area:
If you aren’t sure how to start your search, our find a therapist tool offers tips on:
- searching for a therapist
- the type of therapists out there
- questions you should ask yourself about your goals and expectations so your therapy experience is a success
A healthcare professional can also be a great point of contact on treatment options, if you’re unsure about support groups or therapy. They can help ease any concerns or answer questions about what anxiety is, what it’s not, and just how common and treatable it is.
Remember that you don’t have to keep silent about your anxiety. Speaking up about how you feel can be the first step toward finding ways to relieve your symptoms.