People who are calm on the surface but anxious underneath often have these 8 hidden stressors

Have you ever met someone who’s seemingly calm but you can tell there’s a storm brewing underneath? I bet you have.

This is the world of our friends who appear cool as cucumbers on the outside but are wrestling with anxiety on the inside.

These folks often have hidden stressors that might not be visible to the naked eye. And these stressors? They could be anything.

In this article, we’ll uncover these 8 hidden stressors that often plague even the most peaceful looking people. So, buckle up, it’s time to dive beneath the surface.

1) Perfect facade

Ever wonder how some people manage to look so calm all the time?

It’s not magic, nor is it always natural. Often, it’s a perfect facade, meticulously maintained.

Many individuals who seem calm on the outside are actually dealing with a whirlwind of anxiety within. They’ve become experts at maintaining a serene exterior to hide the turmoil that’s happening inside.

But why? It’s because they feel there’s a need to appear ‘together’ all the time. This self-imposed pressure to always seem composed can be an enormous hidden stressor.

Recognizing this facade and understanding its implications is the first step in uncovering the hidden stressors lurking beneath the calm surface.

2) Fear of failure

Now, let me share a personal story.

When I was in college, I had a friend, Jake, who was the epitome of cool. Always relaxed, always smiling. But beneath that calm exterior, he had a secret stressor: a profound fear of failure.

Jake would spend hours preparing for exams, way more than any of us. Not because he enjoyed studying, but because he was terrified of not doing well. That fear was his constant companion, hidden behind his laid-back demeanor.

Like Jake, many people who seem calm on the surface are silently grappling with the fear of failure. It’s their own private horror show playing on a loop inside their heads, adding to their anxiety. The thought of not living up to expectations – their own or others’ – can be a significant hidden stressor.

3) Unresolved conflict

Did you know that unresolved conflict is a major source of stress and anxiety? It’s true.

Those who appear calm on the surface might be wrestling with unresolved issues, from personal relationships to professional disagreements. This internal tug-of-war can gnaw at their peace, keeping them anxious even if they don’t show it.

The problem with unresolved conflict is that it doesn’t just disappear over time. In fact, it often grows, feeding the anxiety that’s already there. So while they may seem undisturbed externally, they could be carrying an invisible weight of unresolved conflict.

4) Overthinking

Overthinking is another hidden stressor that’s common among those who appear calm on the surface.

They might seem relaxed and unbothered, but their minds could be running a marathon. Overthinking every decision, replaying past conversations, worrying about future scenarios – all these can quietly add to their anxiety.

This constant mental chatter can be exhausting and stressful, even if it’s not visible from the outside. So, don’t be fooled by the calm demeanor. It could just be a cover for a mind that’s in overdrive.

5) Loneliness

Loneliness, my friends, is not always about being alone. Sometimes, it’s about feeling misunderstood or disconnected, even when you’re surrounded by people.

People who seem calm on the outside can often feel isolated on the inside. They may struggle to express their feelings or connect with others on a deeper level. This disconnect can be a hidden stressor, quietly adding to their anxiety.

Remember, just because someone carries their burdens silently doesn’t mean they’re not heavy. Loneliness can weigh them down, even if they maintain a calm exterior. It’s a silent battle they fight every day, hidden beneath the tranquility.

6) High expectations

Growing up, I always felt the need to excel in everything I did. A straight-A student, team captain, you name it. My parents were proud, my teachers impressed. But inside, it was a different story.

High expectations can be a hidden stressor for those who appear calm on the surface. Striving to meet these standards – whether set by themselves or others – can stoke the fires of anxiety. It’s like constantly trying to reach a moving target.

The calm exterior often masks the struggle to keep up with these high expectations. It’s a relentless race, and it can take a toll on their mental health, even if they don’t show it.

7) Lack of self-care

In a world where being busy is often equated with being successful, it’s easy to neglect self-care.

Those who seem calm on the outside may be skimping on self-care, prioritizing other things over their own well-being. This could mean skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, or ignoring their emotional health.

While they may keep a calm facade, this lack of self-care can be a significant hidden stressor. It’s like running a car on empty – sooner or later, it’s going to break down.

So, even if they seem to have it all together, remember that everyone needs a little TLC – especially those who don’t show their stress.

8) Inability to say no

The inability to say ‘no’ can be one of the biggest hidden stressors for those who appear calm on the surface.

They may take on more than they can handle, overcommitting themselves in an attempt to please others or avoid conflict. This constant juggling act can amplify their hidden anxiety.

Remember, it’s okay to set boundaries. It’s okay to say ‘no’. And most importantly, it’s okay to put your own mental health first.

Final thoughts: It’s all about understanding

Peeling back the layers of human behavior is akin to venturing into a labyrinth. The calm exterior often masks a complex web of hidden stressors and internal battles.

The truth is, everyone has their own unique set of stressors, not always visible to the outside world. For those who appear calm but are anxious underneath, these hidden stressors can take many forms – from high expectations and fear of failure, to loneliness and the inability to say ‘no’.

Remember, understanding is the first step towards empathy. Recognizing these hidden stressors can help us better empathize with their struggles, even if they’re not openly displayed.

As American philosopher Will Durant said, “To understand is to forgive, even oneself.” So let’s take a moment to understand, and maybe in doing so, we’ll find a little more forgiveness and kindness for ourselves and others.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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