As a counselor for children and families working with international schools, I have my share of perfectionists and those that demand perfection. There is a marked difference in the people that carry the stress of perfection with them compared to others. Higher anxiety towards daily tasks can create physical tension, sleeplessness, depression, and low-self esteem. When perfection borders on obsessiveness, it leads to a combination of physical and mental issues that could require medication and therapy.
Reading up on the basics of cognitive-behavioral interventions to reduce anxiety will give some insights into helping perfectionists. Having outside help to let us know that something is good enough can help us change our thoughts about our actions to be more reality based. If we have tasks in our life, we could assign a time to finish and submit it before it can become something to obsess over. Taking time to recognize our triggers for perfectionism and to adjust our frame of mind to understand that our belief might not match the reality is part of conquering any obsessive behavior.
Perfectionism is often something that is encouraged by a parent figure with good intentions. It doesn’t take a tiger mom to make a child feel that good isn’t good enough. It can happen in sports activities and academics. Once a child believes they have to do more than what is required, that behavior often carries into adulthood. Without balance in our life our obsessions can become the motivation for how we act.
My pitch (didn't make the final article) Written for medicaldaily
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