5 Anxiety Producing Habits of High Achievers

Having some anxiety is healthy and useful, it can motivate you to reach your goals in life. However,  if you are a high achiever/a perfectionist who is constantly pursuing success and placing achievement ahead of your relationship and well-being,  you may develop excessive anxiety.  You might view these behaviours as being part of who you are without realising that these actions are driven by underlying anxiety that causes you a great deal of stress.  Here are five anxiety producing habits to avoid:

1.     Having a hard time saying “NO” –  people know that they can rely on high achievers to always be reliable, to help when asked and to complete any tasks well. Therefore if you set your self-imposed expectation to say ‘yes’ every time then your feelings of ‘Guilt’ and ‘Obligation’ will prevent you from saying ‘no’. When you do something reluctantly out of guilt or obligation, you can get overwhelmed, resentful and become anxious.

You need to be more realistic in your expectations of what you are required to do, there is no point taking on more responsibilities to avoid your feeling of guilt. Give yourself permission to have inner peace by setting healthy boundaries and declining requests from others.

2.      Finding it difficult to ask for help – the only way high achievers can maintain control is by relying on themselves to complete a task. Your inability to ask for help and delegate will ultimately lead to you being more anxious and the heavy workload will eventually get out of control and affects your life.

Think about how little control we have over many aspects of our lives. Permit yourself to ask and receive help. We are interdependent and rely on each other in many ways. Be considerate when you ask for help, express genuine appreciation when your receive help and find ways to return the favour.

3.     Comparing yourself to successful people – high achievers compare themselves to people they perceive as successful. When you are envious and relentlessly try to keep up with people whom you view as ‘successful’, you will experience high levels of anxiety because when you fall behind you will feel like a failure.

Remember that other people’s accomplishments have no bearing on you or is a reflection of you. Focus on your personal journey, your progress and where you are heading.

4.     Not living in the here and now –  high achievers like to plan far ahead because they expect to reach their goals quickly. When you get fixated on achieving your goals, you get anxious, you think about the past and what is going wrong with your life. You miss valuable lessons learned along the way and forget to appreciate the journey in getting to your destination.

Practising mindfulness meditation and gratitude practice in your daily life will help you maintain awareness in the present moment and reduce anxiety and promote calmness.

5.     Relying on achievement for self-esteem – high achievers tend to tie their self-worth to their level of achievement.  When you equate achievement with happiness then it’s problematic because it means that your self-esteem is conditional. Therefore you have no other choice but to endlessly pursue success to be satisfied and happy.

Self-esteem does not come from accomplishments, you are worthy because you are human.  No amount of success makes you more worthy and no amount of failure makes you less worthy.