This week has been a whirlwind. However, let’s be honest for most anxious super-achievers, that’s just how it goes!
The life of an anxious super-achiever can be pretty full on – you:
- Have the tendency to overthink EVERYTHING
- CONSTANTLY push yourself to the brink of burnout
- Find yourself trying to CONTROL the uncontrollable
- ALWAYS watch the clock ticking down and
- CONSTANTLY worry that there’s never enough time in the day to achieve your goals
These things happen subconsciously. It’s not like we consciously want to be worry-warts or stress heads, it just kind of happens.
And unless you’re very self-aware, in tune with your body and able to grab yourself, give yourself a shake and step back, it can be really easy to fall into this cycle.
When talking about super-achievers, I’m referring to those “who achieve more than most” in their daily lives. That’s the definition behind it – if you don’t believe me, you can google it.
For those who don’t experience anxiety, you may look at someone with anxiety and perceive them as being:
- Control freaks
- Overly dramatic
- Big over-thinkers
- Stress heads / Worry-warts
- Or even in some instances, Selfish
But when you’re living the life yourself, I can tell you now, most of us don’t enjoy being that way. Here are some real and raw truths when it comes to being an anxious super achiever.
1) You Continue To Push Yourself To Your Limits, Even When You Should Stop & Rest
I don’t know about you, but for me, this is something I find REALLY hard!
Once I start getting momentum in something, I find it really difficult to JUSTIFY stopping and resting as it can sometimes make me feel like I’m being lazy. But, it can be a double negative, because when I’m NOT feeling in momentum and am NOT achieving the results I feel I should be, I feel there’s NO TIME to rest, or that I even don’t deserve to.
This can create problems because we subconsciously lose that work/life balance that we need in our lives.
These days, I actually schedule down time in my diary to allow time for me, quality time with my partner as well as the things I love and that fill my cup up.
If you suffer from anxiety or regularly pushing yourself to burnout, I highly suggest you do the same. Otherwise you’ll naturally fill your rest time with “busyness” and find excuses for why you “don’t have time”.
2) Your Anxiety Causes You to Try and Control Everything, Even The Uncontrollable!!
This is a biggie!!!
Anxious super-achievers are often very naughty – we think we have the power and ability to control everything. And even when we can’t, we still try.
Whether it be:
- you’re daily schedule
- you’re partners daily schedule (tongue in cheek)
- what you eat / what you don’t eat
- Exercise or sports regimes
- Our EMOTIONS and that of others
- Our BEHAVIOUR and the that of others
- Our MINDSET and that of others
- …And sometimes even our pets
Some of these things are controllable and it is really beneficial to remain committed and consistent with them, especially to be productive and achieve your goals.
However, sometimes trying to control all the things in your life to reduce your anxiety symptoms actually leads to insanity rather than SANITY (which is what we’re often trying to achieve in the first place).
In the end, you can only control what’s located within your circle of influence. For anything outside of that, it’s near impossible to control it.
Doing so will only lead to added frustration, stress, anxiety and resentment.
Life naturally has it’s up and downs, everything occurs in duality. So there needs to be some element of flexibility and spontaneity in your routine. This is something that I too am trying to improve.
A quote I’d love to leave you with is:
“While learning to stop sweating the small stuff won’t solve all your problems immediately, it will make dealing with them a little easier. As you learn to be more accepting of life, and as little things don’t get to you as much, you will get used to handling things in a healthier, easier way and with far less struggle. You will become happier, more content and confident, and more at peace with yourself.”
– Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
3) You Constantly Worry That You’re Never Doing Enough to Achieve Your Goals
Another thing that many of us super-achievers struggle with is letting go. We find it hard to accept or forgive ourselves when we haven’t achieved everything we set out to do in a given day.
You often feel unsatisfied by the end of the day, because there’s always that one thing churning around in your mind that you feel you could have done, but didn’t. And despite all the other amazing things you achieved, you beat yourself up due to not pushing yourself more to #getitdone.
This can make it really hard to switch off your mind at the end of the day. Your head is consumed with numerous thoughts and you honestly find it difficult to relax and unwind.
If this is you, a really handy technique to incorporate into your routine is mindfulness.
If you have not heard about mindfulness before and would love to learn how be more mindful, express gratitude, adopt a more positive mindset, feel happier and more content, ensure to get your copy of the The Mindfully Happy HandBook
You will also gain insight into how to overcome limiting beliefs and negative thoughts which could be holding you back from achieving your true potential!
4) You’re Too Hard On Yourself When Things Don’t Go to Plan
Similar to the above, super-achievers are naturally hard on themselves, especially when things don’t go to plan.
Although others say “don’t sweat the small stuff” sometimes it honestly feels freaking awesome when everything you planned actually goes to plan.
So, when it doesn’t, even if it’s just something small, you can feel like you’ve failed.
Again, this is not usually the case, but when you have anxiety and you worry about every-single-little-thing and controlling every-single-little-thing, having something happen that you haven’t planned for can #freakyouout.
That’s why it can be so important to try as much as you can, to be open when something outside of your plans pops up. Even if it’s just someone asking for your help or to join them with something.
Before you react, take a moment to absorb it and think about it. Then decide what you want to do.
5) You Can Get Tunnel Vision
When you’re a super-achiever, it can be so easy to become ultra-focused on your goals and vision, that you accidentally overlook the needs of others.
It’s never intentional, but can cause us to lose sight of what’s important in the present. And don’t get me wrong, I’m literally talking to myself when I say this.
As much as I am passionate about planning and setting goals for the future, I am also a big believer in mindfulness, meditation and living in the present moment.
Sometimes we get so used to all the current abundance, wealth, love and opportunity we have in our lives, that we forget to appreciate it. Instead, we find ourselves constantly striving for the things we don’t have.
I’m not saying to be selfless, that’s not the point. But, when we become so consumed in achieving our own goals and desires, we can often overlook the importance of nurturing and showing gratitude for the people and things we already have right in front of us.
If you feel yourself being in the “tunnel vision” state or becoming overwhelmed with anxiety, it can be helpful to:
- Look up
- Give your closest loved ones a cuddle
- Reflect on all the amazing things you’ve achieved so far in your life and all the amazing things that you’re grateful for
- Spend some quality time with your loved ones
- Spend a moment doing something you love to fill your cup up
- Then continue in pursuit of your vision
6) Your Anxiety Makes You Feel Like You’re in An Emergency / There’s Never Enough Time
My gosh. If only, I did not do this…
To me, if I’m honest, nearly every day seems like a new game to play. A new challenge for myself and how much I can possibly get done within the hours of 5am – 9:30pm.
From my morning ritual of meditation, stretching, moon tracking, vision board gazing, goal reviewing and getting ready for work to listening to self-development, eating, working on my business, working in my day job, going for a walk, going to the gym, cooking dinner, working on my business again, spending time with family/loved ones, bathing, life, sleep, repeat. *deep breath*
It’s not a comparison game with others, but literally a competition for myself.
Every minute I can feel the clock ticking down, which acts as a constant reminder that there’s less time in the day for me to achieve my goals.
It’s partly ridiculous I know, and yes it puts me under a lot of stress and pressure, but, at the same time, I kind of love it because it gives my day purpose and gives me a new lease of life and energy every day.
For other anxious super-achievers, I’m sure you relate to feeling a similar way – that constant worry or fear that you’ll never have enough time in the day to complete everything on your to do list.
The funny thing about this, and I’m not sure if you can relate, but doing this every day can sometimes cause us to enter a state of defiance, rebelliousness and self-sabotage.
Due to being so disciplined and focused most of the time, sometimes our brain/ body just wants to fight back and switch off.
As an example, sometimes despite knowing all the things I want or need to do, I will self-sabotage by deciding that suddenly I’m going to have a movie day. Then by the evening, I’ll be running around the house feeling guilty and stressed, because surprise, surprise, I have not achieved my goals for the day. Funny that….
Here’s an amazing quote that I read today that I feel, puts thing greatly into perspective:
“It’s important to ask ourselves whether we really want to go through the rest of our life out of control, flying by the seat of our pants, and treating life as if it were an emergency. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we could calm down a little bit and regain our sense of perspective? One of the keys to regaining a feeling of peace and composure is creating at least some degree of balance in your life.”
– Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
7) You Worry a Lot About What People Think of You
Another key characteristic of high-achievers who suffer from anxiety, is that they often care a lot about what others think of them. Sometimes, even more so than what they think of themselves.
This is something that can decrease as we build our own confidence and self-love, however, there’s often a natural tendency to seek approval and reassurance from external sources.
Constantly doing this isn’t good for us because it means that we often discount the powers of our own opinions, judgement and perception to make way for others’.
Another great quote to expand what I mean:
“Many of us inadvertently create stress in our lives by making the mistake of underestimating ourselves. Failing to have adequate confidence in our abilities, intuition and wisdom means that we must rely on others to guide and direct us.
This is potentially stressful because it encourages us to seek acknowledgement, acceptance and approval from outside sources – peers, parents, friends and others – rather than from within ourselves.
People with genuine self-confidence make a conscious decision that, although guidance is always welcome and approval and acknowledgement are always nice, ultimately the only lasting confidence comes from within.”
– Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
How Can Super-achievers Cope With Anxiety, and the Stress That Comes With it?
Here are some things that you can try throughout your day to help cope with the anxiety and stress that come with being a high-achiever:
- Ensure to engage in at least 1 thing you love and find pleasurable during the day
- Incorporate some Yoga / Pilates into your day
- Practice Meditation / Mindfulness for at least 10 mins a day
- Exercise regularly during your week
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Take deep breaths when you feel your symptoms arising
- Set time aside for Self-care (Eg. Having a bath)
- Listen to music, sing or dance around the house
- Eat a healthy diet and drink less caffeine
- Take a break from technology and social media for a period of time
- Be kind to yourself and challenge negative self-talk
- Try to keep things into perspective, and focus only on what you can control
- Slow down what you’re doing and take a break, burn some essential oils
- Get 7-9 hours a sleep per night
- Manage your time better by using a diary and scheduling your priorities for the day
- Make time for cuddles or quality time with your partner
- Plan things ahead rather than being reactive
- Get outside and enjoy some sunshine
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