Could Being a Perfectionist Lead to Anxiety?
Before we delve any deeper into the question, let’s investigate what people believe perfectionism is:
Perfectionists may have the belief that everything must be absolutely perfect all the time and so they may spend a huge amount of time on even the smallest issue. They may also strive for goals that are almost impossible to achieve (and so feel anxious when they cannot achieve it). Also it’s very common for perfectionists to have a fear of not achieving, of being rejected or being criticised. They also tend to be black and white thinkers, e.g. everything has to be perfect or it’s a complete failure.
A more balanced point of view would be to strive for doing the very best they can
Of course, some situations call upon one to aim for excellence and yet others do not. For example, taking an entrance exam may call for one to aim to be excellent, yet choosing what you are wearing is not. So it’s really important to differentiate between aiming for excellence and just aiming for doing one’s best. When you are able to differentiate between excellence and just enough so that you feel a sense of achievement when either is met. This will allow you to look at life and yourself from a more balanced perspective and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
There may well be only certain areas where you seek perfection, it doesn’t necessarily flow through every aspect of life, it may be in:
Work, Studying, Relationships, Diet, Exercise or housework.
It’s important to identify which area it is and identify why it’s so important to you in that field. Once you know that you can start to play to your strengths in that area and seek to do the very best you can, without putting undue pressure on yourself and feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
So the answer to the initial question is YES! Perfectionism can lead to anxiety
You may be so intent on achieving perfectionism that you over-organise and appear to be very rigid in your outlook. Perhaps you check, check, check, check and check again (twice is usually sufficient) thus putting undue strain on yourself.
You may not be prepared to delegate to others which means they will never learn how to do things themselves.
Some perfectionists may give up a task too soon as they do not believe they can do it perfectly. They may also find it difficult to make decisions, in case they make the wrong one.
So, how can you get out of this all-consuming and debilitating perfectionism that leads to anxiety and worry?
Step 1 is to identify in which area you are tending to be a perfectionist.
Step 2 is to select a behaviour within it that you would like to change
Step 3 is to break down the behaviour into baby steps by identifying who, what, where and how
Step 4 work on these baby steps and repeat them over and over until you accept that you are doing your best you are happy with doing your best.
We Can Help
Whether it is through Hypnotherapy, CBT, Mindfulness or any of or combination of the different therapies we practise, we can help you overcome anxiety. We always start with a 20 minute free initial consultation Call us on 01908 265410 or email email@example.com