Habits help us to keep everything in our special order to get through the day. They can seem normal, as long as they’re not caused by deep fear. If we mention high-functioning anxiety, its symptoms are hard to notice at first and this is what makes it dangerous.
We at Bright Side made a list of 12 common habits that might be caused by anxiety, so you can pause and take a second look at your actions and figure out if they are caused by your own will or a phobia.
1. You eat the same breakfast every morning.
Getting your favorite corn flakes or a granola bar for breakfast can be a perfect way to start the morning. But if you push yourself to eat exactly the same meal at the beginning of each day and the whole idea of switching it up makes you nervous, eventually your food becomes a real torture, not a pleasure.
Try to add some new ingredients to your meal, step-by-step. For example, add some fruit to your granola or add some chocolate sprinkles on your plain toast.
2. You bite your nails.
Anxiety creates a feeling of tension that needs to be released. This tension creates a bunch of stress behaviors. Signs like nail and lip biting or twirling our hair reveal the inner anxiety that our unconscious is trying to get rid of.
3. You have a comforting ritual.
Any kind of a special “routine” that keeps you organized and helps you to stay focused is great. But if daily actions have long turned into something that is too strict and are something you feel the need to constantly do under any circumstances, they are harmful. If any deviation from your routine causes you to have a panic attack, then you should be careful, this can be a sign of high-functioning anxiety.
Try to ease it by changing your rituals on purpose, starting with small things like, for example, not putting the pillow “in exactly the same spot” and completely leaving your bed a mess for a day.
4. You make to-do lists
Lists come in handy if you don’t want to forget something, but making to-do lists non-stop just to cross things off and then adding more “tasks” might be another sign of anxiety. Checklists help us to control our surroundings and for many people have become an essential part of their day. Anyway, this shouldn’t become a thing that makes you freak out if you don’t have one of the planned tasks complete.
5. You don’t notice time passing.
You spend too much time doing things because you are so fixed on your actions: making sure your bed is made perfectly, your hair isn’t out of place, a stack of clothes is arranged by colors and so on. If something is out of order you spend even more time trying to fix it. Being too focused on these things causes you to not notice the time passing and highlights your high level of anxiety.
6. You stay awake the whole night.
It’s late night, you are in bed, the lights are off, it’s warm and cozy… but you still can’t fall asleep. There are a lot of factors that cause sleep loss, but anxiety is definitely one of the main reasons. People who constantly worry about something, have inner struggles, and can’t calm their mind have high-functioning anxiety.
7. You wake up before the alarm.
When a person constantly wakes up too early in the morning it’s called sleep-maintenance insomnia. This can be a common thing since some of us simply need less sleep. At the same time, it can also point at “times of psychological stress when life events are bothering you.”
8. You procrastinate.
Everyone puts some tasks off every once in a while because of laziness, but for people with anxiety, procrastination turns into a habit. While procrastinating, people with high-functioning anxiety make the excuse that “things just go this way,” while the real reason for it is a fear of doing the task wrong or even failing at it.
9. You ask people for advice.
We all turn to our family and friends if we need an advice or some life wisdom, and this is completely normal…if it doesn’t turn into calling and texting everyone around to ask about every small thing that happens to you. The constant need for a helping hand shows that you might have high-functioning anxiety. On the other hand, it might also be a sign of low self-esteem and a fear of making decisions alone, which can be another sign of anxiety.
10. You research everything.
There is no harm in being informed about a symptom of a disease or studying some relationship tips. Unless you start to nervously google everything that happens to you. If your browser history is overloaded with search queries starting from the meaning of tiny red spots on your skin and ending with a bunch of psychological advice from different people, this might prove that you have anxiety.
11. You sit close to the exits.
Nervous people tend to sit next to the doors because it allows them to remain in public while not feeling overwhelmed. But they should be careful, since it’s a sign of anxiety it can easily turn into a full disorder called claustrophobia.
12. You go back home for a double check.
This destructive habit is closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder since this action contains an element of compulsion. It’s fine if you keep coming back to double check if your iron is unplugged, lights in the bathroom are off, or if your fridge is closed because you are forgetful. But if your mind is constantly filled with the worst case scenario, this can be a sign of anxiety.
Did we mention any of your habits? Which one from the list seems the most extreme for you? How do you ease it? Share with us in the comment section!