Why Being a Perfectionist May Lead to Stress, Anxiety and Depression

perfectionists post feature image
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Are You a Perfectionist?

If so, you’re not alone. There is a growing number of us in society today. The number is bigger than ever. Researchers aren’t quite sure why that is. Perfectionists have their strengths, don’t they?

  • We tend to be extremely self-motivated, hard working and conscientious. What boss or business partner wouldn’t want those qualities in an employee or associate?
  • We are excellent planners. If you ask a perfectionist to plan an event, every last detail will likely be accounted for. Not only do perfectionists want to make sure everything is done, er well, perfectly, we even anticipate the things that could go wrong!

Where It Can Go Bad

Needless to say, perfectionists are under tremendous pressure! We are running a race that cannot be won. We are fighting an endless internal battle. This is a fight that we infallible humans are not meant to engage! It’s exhausting. It’s unfair. Someone keeps moving the finish line, bringing in reinforcements, changing the rules. Just when we think we’ve got it, the game changes. Again.

Anxiety and Depression

This where anxiety and depression come in. We feel we cannot keep up with ourselves! We have to come off at all times looking competent, in control and able to solve every problem thrown at us. Life happens and we realize how futile an existence this is. We realize how tiring it is and we worry. What will happen if I stop? What will happen if I can’t fix this or do that or look like I’m all good?

The heart races, the hands sweat and tremble, the “lump” in the throat grows.

Is this you? Have you been here? I have. It’s something I have to be intentional about keeping in check.

What To Do When Perfectionism Wants to Take Over

Once you’ve identified a tendency towards perfectionism, there are a few things I suggest you do to reign it in.

  1. Have a Plan

Enlist a trusted friend that will call you out when you’re going “over the top” by being unnecessarily demanding or critical of yourself. Obviously, this should should be a trusted friend that is not the polar opposite of you! There’s nothing worse than someone minimizing how you feel simply because they can’t relate at all! This has happened to me quite a lot. I’ve learned better now. Don’t share your deep struggles with someone who feels that unless it is a life or death problem, it “shouldn’t be a big deal.” Chances are those kinds of friends are passive and huge procrastinators! Don’t do that to yourself! Choose a friend that’s like minded and understands to some degree, what you’re agonizing over!

2. Get Out and Play!

One of the best ways to be proactive about perfectionism is to have an outlet that forces you to get comfortable with NOT being perfect. What did you do when you were a kid and had free time to play? Color? Draw? Run around outside somewhere? It may sound silly but if you purpose to do something to “let loose” or engage in a “brainless” activity somehow it will help you relax! You may find inspiration to do that new project, or fresh ideas on how to continue with one you’ve started. The whole idea is you’re allowing yourself time to just BE and not DO.

3) Educate yourself

This is one blog post on this topic and I do hope it has given you some good ideas. There are many authors that have written and researched it as well. I will leave you with a few of my favorites right here at the end of this post.

In conclusion, perfectionism has its pros and cons. It’s important to know where your strengths are and guard against an unhealthy habits that can lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and many other problems. Have a plan, educate yourself and for crying out loud – take a break! You’re human! :p

Close Menu