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  • Writer's pictureNicole Ambrose, LCSW

Conquering the Art of Relaxation in a World of High Functioning Anxiety



Picture this: it's the end of a long day, and you finally have a moment to yourself. You settle into your favorite chair, ready to relax and unwind. But instead of feeling a wave of calm wash over you, your mind starts racing with a million thoughts and worries. Sound familiar? Welcome to the club of high functioning anxiety, where even relaxation feels like a battle.


Unlike its more outwardly visible cousin, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), high functioning anxiety often flies under the radar, masquerading as the "acceptable" face of stress and worry. 


High functioning anxiety is like living life with a constant buzz of nervous energy humming in the background. It's the pit in your stomach before a big presentation, the racing thoughts that keep you up at night, and the never-ending to-do list that looms over your shoulder like a dark cloud. But here's the kicker: despite these internal struggles, you somehow manage to soldier on, pushing through the chaos with a smile plastered on your face.


High functioning anxiety can manifest in a myriad of ways, from perfectionism and overthinking to chronic stress and burnout. It's the relentless pursuit of excellence at the expense of your own well-being, the constant need for validation and approval, and the fear of failure that drives you to push harder, do more, and never let your guard down.


But here's the thing: high functioning anxiety isn't just about surviving—it's about thriving in spite of the chaos. It's about finding strength in vulnerability, resilience in adversity, and beauty in imperfection. 


Therapy for High Functioning Anxiety:


A therapist specializing in anxiety can be your trusty sidekick on this journey to relaxation paradise. Therapists armed with expertise in anxiety disorders can offer invaluable support and guidance tailored to your unique needs.


When it comes to tackling high functioning anxiety, a one-size-fits-all approach simply won't cut it. That's where an integrative approach to therapy comes into play, combining the best of both worlds: cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) and mind-body techniques.


CBT operates on the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected, and by identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, we can effectively change our emotional responses and behavioral reactions. In the context of high functioning anxiety, CBT can help you uncover the underlying beliefs and assumptions driving your anxiety, such as the need for perfection or the fear of failure. Through a series of structured exercises and homework assignments, you'll learn practical strategies to reframe negative thinking patterns, build resilience in the face of adversity, and develop healthier coping mechanisms to manage stress.


But wait, there's more! Enter the realm of mind-body techniques, where ancient wisdom meets modern science to create a holistic approach to healing. From mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises to yoga and progressive muscle relaxation, mind-body techniques offer a treasure trove of tools to soothe the restless soul and calm the anxious mind.


By incorporating mind-body techniques into your therapeutic toolkit, you can learn to cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness, presence, and acceptance, allowing you to navigate life's challenges with grace and resilience. Plus, the physical benefits of mind-body practices, such as reduced muscle tension, improved sleep quality, and enhanced immune function, serve as an added bonus for weary souls in need of restoration.


But perhaps the greatest gift of an integrative approach to therapy is the opportunity to explore the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit in the journey toward healing and wholeness. By bridging the gap between cognitive therapies and mind-body techniques, you can tap into the wisdom of your inner wisdom and harness the power of your innate resilience to overcome anxiety and reclaim your peace of mind.


So, whether you're a seasoned CBT enthusiast or a mindfulness newbie, remember that therapy isn't just about fixing what's broken—it's about uncovering the hidden gems of strength, courage, and resilience that lie within each and every one of us. 


Unwinding the Worry Knot of Anxiety:


Now, let's zoom in on one specific problem with high functioning anxiety: the inability to relax. We've all been there, desperately trying to switch off our racing minds and sink into a state of blissful relaxation, only to end up more wound up than a coil spring. So, what's the secret to unwinding the worry knot? Drumroll, please... mindfulness meditation!


Yes, you heard that right. Mindfulness meditation isn't just for yoga enthusiasts and Zen masters—it's a powerful tool that anyone can wield to tame the wild beast of anxiety. By bringing your awareness to the present moment and gently nudging aside intrusive thoughts, mindfulness meditation can help you cultivate a sense of calm and inner peace, even in the midst of chaos.


Here's a simple mindfulness meditation exercise to get you started:


  1. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you won't be disturbed.

  2. Sit or lie down in a relaxed position, closing your eyes if that feels comfortable.

  3. Take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to relax with each exhale.

  4. Bring your attention to the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body.

  5. Notice the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation of air passing through your nostrils.

  6. Whenever your mind starts to wander (and trust me, it will), gently guide your focus back to your breath without judgment.

  7. Continue this practice for a few minutes, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with it.


Remember, the goal isn't to eliminate all thoughts (a feat even the most seasoned meditators struggle to achieve) but rather to observe them with curiosity and compassion. So, take a deep breath, exhale the stress, and let mindfulness be your guiding light on the path to relaxation nirvana.


Counseling for High Functioning Anxiety:


And there you have it, folks! This is just a glimpse into the world of possibilities when you choose to work with an anxiety specialist like me, Nicole Ambrose, LCSW. There's so much more depth to uncover when it comes to mastering the art of relaxation. But before you navigate away from this page and dive back into the whirlwind of life, I want to share a crucial insight: relaxation isn't a luxury; it's a fundamental human need.


Therapy offers a sanctuary where we can unravel the intricate layers of high functioning anxiety, unveiling the core beliefs and assumptions that fuel our stress and worries. With my guidance as a seasoned therapist, you'll discover practical tools to challenge those negative thought patterns, foster self-compassion, and cultivate resilience in the face of life's trials.


Take action today to reclaim your peace of mind. Reach out to me and experience a blend of compassionate care and evidence-based therapy tailored to your unique journey. Call 954-391-5305 for your complimentary consultation so we can discuss how I can help you live with peace, fulfillment, and balance. 


With a holistic approach grounded in mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and trauma-informed care, I'm committed to helping you break free from the clutches of anxiety and embrace a life filled with purpose, passion, and vitality.


Your path to relaxation and inner peace begins now—don't hesitate to seize this opportunity to transform your life.


I provide counseling for adults at our beautiful Coral Springs office as well as online counseling via our secure telehealth platform.


Click here for more information about my approach to therapy.

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