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How to save your mental health from perfectionism

by Becca Davis

Studies are showing that perfectionism is on the rise. While it might sound counter-intuitive that someone striving to be perfect at something can be a bad thing, it is a condition which is associated with mental illnesses such as depression and psychopathy.

According to Psychology Today: “The statistics are alarming Between 1989 and 2016, self-oriented perfectionism scores increased by 10 percent, other-oriented perfectionism increased by 16 percent, and socially-prescribed perfectionism increased by a whopping 33 percent.”

The book “NEVER GOOD ENOUGH How to Use Perfectionism to Your Advantage Without Letting it Ruin Your Life” by Monica Ramirez Basco lists some questions you can ask yourself to identify if you might be struggling with perfectionism:

“Do you feel that no matter how hard you try it is never good enough?

Do you spend too much time trying to get things exactly right in order to avoid criticism?

Does it seem that at any minute people will find out that you are not really what you seem to be?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be struggling with perfectionist tendencies. They can serve a positive purpose in your life. But having extremely high standards for yourself and others can leave you feeling let down -- repeatedly -- when these expectations aren't met.”

Therefore, it is undoubtedly a challenge to make sure that these perfectionism tendencies play a positive role in your life. For this to happen, you should not allow your perfectionism lower your self-esteem. One of the best ways to ensure this is to make sure that you keep your mind preoccupied and accomplish small but meaningful things. For instance, leisurely activities such as coloring can be a great way to keep your mind focused and get your needed dose of achievement.

Also, making sure that you also have goals which are less associated with materialistic or career-oriented things will help you redirect your mind towards aims which are unlikely to trigger perfectionism in you.

Overall, knowing what your triggers are and letting your mind rest from especially competitive and vital tasks is a good way to keep your perfectionism in check. After all, being a perfectionist is not always a bad thing. Often it can allow you to get what you need with great precision and exceptional quality. It’s all about avoiding the negative triggers.

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