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Perfect or not at all: we tell what perfectionism is and how it affects health

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar15,2024

Perfect or not: we tell you what perfectionism is and how it affects your health

What is perfectionism/Take care of yourself

Perfectionism is often perceived as a positive personality characteristic – synonymous with success, high quality standards and constant self-improvement on the way to the ideal. However, very often it brings many problems and psychological disorders to people.

Perfectionism can really motivate to the result, but it is worth considering the disadvantages of such an approach and “pitfalls”. This is stated on the Berezhya seba platform.

Perfectionism – it is the desire to be flawless, perfect in everything. Tendency to set too high standards and unrealistic expectations, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluation and emphasis on failure.

Perfectionism often becomes an obstacle in life. Because even if the desired goal is achieved, a person's mood and condition are negatively affected by constant self-criticism.

10 signs that you have perfectionism:

1. Exaggerated demands on oneself and the environment.

2. The desire to never make mistakes and avoid failure.

3. High self-criticism.

4. Tendency to devalue one's achievements and only temporary satisfaction with the result.

5. Procrastination.

6. Increased anxiety and often – bad mood.

7. Fear of the unknown and new experiences.

8. Excessive attention to details and doubts in the process of finding the “perfect” solution to the task.

9. Excessive control and verification of the result.

10. All-or-nothing thinking.

Modern researchers consider perfectionism as a transdiagnostic process– a phenomenon when such a way of thinking of a person can contribute to the strengthening of various mental disorders.

It is known that perfectionism can contribute to the development of depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, burnout, feelings of guilt, difficulties in adaptation, etc. And also reinforces conditional self-esteem, that is, one that depends on a certain condition set by a person personally or by the environment.

This is a good reason to seek qualified psychotherapeutic help in time when perfectionism significantly affects life.

How can perfectionism affect a person's life?

  • Fear of mistakes and failure hinders development – to try new things, gain life experience and form new skills.
  • Because of the fear of making mistakes, perfectionists usually avoid non-standard, new solutions for themselves, restrain the manifestations of creativity and creativity.
  • Perfectionism prevents you from enjoying the present moment, feeling satisfied with yourself and life, because “you can always do better” and “there is no limit to improvement”.
  • The need for external confirmation of success and recognition of achievements goes hand in hand with excessive sensitivity to criticism.
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  • Fear to start – a person has difficulties at the start of any activity due to the fear that it will not be possible to do it perfectly.
  • Procrastination leads to the accumulation of unfinished tasks, problems with time management, delaying deadlines, fatigue and stress.
  • Overload due to trying to do “everything at once” and sacrificing rest for work (direct steps to burnout).
  • Feeling distress when the person or others do not meet expectations. Together with high demands and reactions from the environment, this can cause problems in relationships.
  • Reinforcement of the idea that self-esteem depends on achievements.
  • Excessive expenditure of time, internal resources and efforts.
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What are the ways to help yourself?

The first step – realize the problem.

Analyze the impact of the consequences of perfectionism on your life and try to investigate what factors may have contributed to its development. List the advantages and disadvantages of perfectionism in your particular case.

Change your attitude towards mistakes.

Accepting that mistakes are a natural part of life and a way to learn, &ndash ; an important step in helping yourself.

Focus on realistic demands on yourself. Try to set achievable goals that are aligned with your values.

Reduce catastrophizing. Try to understand what exactly you fear if your performance falls short of your unrealistically high standards. What exactly can happen and how likely is it? And if it does, how can you deal with it?

Experiment with expectations.For example, you are used to setting yourself the goal of completing a task at 100%. Try to ignore this pressure on yourself and lower your target to 70-80%. This will help you realize that “disaster” will not happen if your performance is more in line with reality.

Clearly define your priorities and plan tasks taking into account the time and effort required.

Not only the goal is important, but also the path to it. Learn to enjoy the process and appreciate the present moment. Practice mindfulness regularly – the skill of directing attention to what is happening “here and now”. This will help you to be open and accepting of different experiences.

Notice self-criticism. Practice self-gratitude, self-compassion, strengthen self-kindness.

Remind yourself, what IS the decision or result – the best thing you can do in this period of life and under the circumstances you are in.

Take care of your health, well-being and adequate rest. Develop the sphere hobbies and interests, where you can switch to resource activities and give yourself space to recover.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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