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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Trying to be perfect can cause anxiety

No one is flawless. However, many individuals struggle with perfectionism, which can trigger a cascade of anxieties. Depending on how it is used, stubbornness can be both a strength and a weakness. Dr. Szymanski teaches psychology at Harvard Medical School and runs the International OCD Foundation as its executive director.

According to Dr. Szymanski, the intention to do something well lies at the heart of all perfectionism. If you can maintain focus on your intention and desired outcome while adjusting your strategy as necessary, you will be fine. But when you cannot tolerate making a mistake and your strategy is to not make any, perfectionism begins to veer in the wrong direction. " In its worst form, perfectionism can make a person afraid to do anything because they don't want to make a mistake.
 
Dr. Szymanski has given you the following exercise to help you decide which projects and activities are the most important and to keep your personal strategy in place:

What do you value most in life? 

What would you like the past 50 years to represent? If this seems overwhelming, consider where you would like to focus your efforts over the next five years.

Nobody can be a perfectionist in all areas. Consider your current objectives and projects and rank them accordingly. Use the letters "ABCF" to determine where you want to excel (A), where you want to be above average (B), where you want to be average (C), and where you can let go (F) (F). For instance,
A (one hundred percent effort) is reserved for your top priorities. For example, if your career is the most important thing to you, you might want to impress your boss, make sure your clients are happy, and do good work.
 
B (above average, maybe 80% effort): You might enjoy golf, tennis, or learning a new language. You enjoy these activities but have no plans to pursue them professionally.

C (moderate effort): Perhaps having a clean home is also essential. But how often should you clean your home? People do not visit it on a daily basis. Could you simply clean on weekends? Or concentrate on the few rooms with the most foot traffic?


F (no effort) is appropriate. -consuming tasks that neither advance your values nor bring you pleasure, such as arranging your hangers or folding your clothes in a particular manner. Do you perform any tasks that, upon reflection, are inconsequential because you've been performing them in the same manner for so long that you're on autopilot? These should be pruned.

Read Coping with Anxiety and Stress Disorders, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, for more information on anxiety, including the distinction between what's normal and what should be considered serious, as well as treatment options.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/weaving-loom-machine-with-colorful-threads-4219107/
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No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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