Society rewards us for being productive. Unfortunately, this can be a problem for people who wrestle with anxiety.

What happens when you anxiety begins to climb?

Instead of dealing with it, do you add more to your plate?

Do you take more classes or work more hours? Start an intense fitness routine?

Additionally, you may even launch a new social media strategy so that people can see your achievements!

And as a result, society congratulates you. You get awards and promotions. You receive accolades. All the while, you’re suffering inside.

It’s a cycle. If you get more anxious, then you block it out with more achievement. However, this is unsustainable.

Are Your Achievements Driven by Anxiety?

How do you know if anxiety is at the root of your achievement cycle? Here are some signs:

  • You experience physical symptoms when you don’t meet your goals. For example, your heart races or you can’t sleep.
  • You don’t feel happy when you do meet your goals. You are certain that you could have done even better.
  • The more you do, the more you feel like you have to do. The pace of your life keeps getting more frenetic.
  • You get preoccupied with meeting a goal. You focus on it to the exclusion of relationships, personal health, and other important things
  • You’re a procrastinator. People driven by anxiety often fear imperfection. As a result, they’ll delay even getting started
  • One small mistake ruins your entire day. You can’t get past it.

Why Over Achievement is a Problem

There is nothing wrong with setting and meeting goals. In fact, it’s great to push yourself to achieve the things you want in life. However, over achievement is a problem if it’s driven by anxiety.

Equating Achievement with Self

You think that what you do is who you are. This causes a variety of issues including:

  • Low self-esteem when you don’t meet your own expectations
  • Lack of self-awareness about your true feelings
  • The feeling that you can’t ever stop achieving
  • Feeling like you don’t even know who you are or what you like
  • Shallow relationships; you assume people like you for what you do instead of for who you are

You’re Never Satisfied

The littlest mistake feels like the end of the world. If you have a great success, then you worry that it was just a fluke. In fact, you fear that everyone will find out that you’re just a fraud.

With all of this worry going on, you can’t ever relax. You can’t celebrate the big things, let alone enjoy the small beauties of life. Put simply, you aren’t happy.

Anxiety Causes Physical Health Issues

Anxiety won’t go away if you don’t deal with the underlying issues. It doesn’t matter how many awards you get, because the anxiety always needs more. If you fail to deal with this, it can manifest in physical symptoms. For example, you might experience:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tense muscles

If you’re focused on achievement, you may fail to heed these symptoms. You may also forego basic self-care like proper rest, sleep and nutrition. This exacerbates the symptoms.

Likelihood of a Crash

One of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety is fatigue. You can run for a long time on the adrenaline of anxiety. You can push yourself to achieve amazing things. But eventually, you may crash.

This crash hits anyone hard, but it hits overachievers especially so. You may get so tired that you simply can’t keep functioning at the same pace. Beyond the physical condition, this will upset your process of achieving. That, in turn, will cause mental anguish.

Society rewards high-functioning anxiety. However, it can cause you a lot of pain. I’d like to help. Learn more about how therapy can help treat anxiety here or reach out soon for a consultation.