Can Being a Perfectionist Be Damaging to Your Health?

Being a perfectionist is not necessarily considered a bad thing, but there are many consequences that come with this way of thinking. 
It is one thing to have a yearning to do your best at things and improve your own skills which can lead to personal growth, this is ‘adaptive perfectionism’. However, if being a perfectionist causes anxiety, stress, frustration and negatively modifies your performance and personal relationships, then it can become a serious problem. This is 'maladaptive perfectionism' which usually involves risks to physical and emotional health.

The similarity of both perfectionist personalities is the harsh standards you put upon yourself or maybe even upon others. It could be you think you need to please yourself or others to be perceived as perfect. Unfortunately, there are many consequences that arise from this type of thinking:

Decrease Productivity – Living in fear of making a mistake becomes a constant, creating a source of anxiety. You can’t accomplish anything unless everything is organized just the way you see it needs to be. You may get so caught up in whatever you’re trying to be perfect at that you end up not doing it at all. Or you put projects off past their due date because you are so worried about them being perfect. 
Anxiety and Depression –‌As a perfectionist, you put a lot of pressure on yourself. Or you perceive pressure from those in your life or society. This generates great emotional stress and social anxiety. This buildup of when you don’t meet the high standards make you more vulnerable to other problems like depression, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, anger, impatience and frustration, obsessiveness and compulsiveness.  

Physical Health Problems -  There maybe a need for strict control over your life which can border on obsessive-compulsive disorder. Perfectionist tendencies typically revolve around control. When you lose that control, other mental health conditions can occur. In severe cases, you may even develop eating disorders.  

Strained Relationships - If you put your high standards on your loved ones, this adds extra stress and pressure to your relationships and can cause them to fail.‌ When you bring this thought process into these relationships, you’re judging the other person as much as you judge yourself. And that’s not healthy for any relationship.  
Not Being Present - Because you’re busy critiquing what’s going on around you or worried about it, you’re living inside your head. You may be worried about a future decision or replaying something that happened today.  So, you’re not focused on the present in front of you. That’s another limitation that leads to procrastination and self-loathing.‌


As you can see when taken to the extreme, the downfalls of perfectionism can be damaging to your health in all areas. But no need to fret, there are some strategies for coping. I have used many of these when I find myself wading into the deep end of trying to be perfect.

Get Rid of 'Should' - When you find yourself focusing on how things "should" be, try reframing the issue. For example, if you're stressed about a party you're planning, focus on what you want from the party (to have a good time) versus trying to prevent every possible thing that could go wrong.
Find Workable Solutions - Fear of failure is a common concern for perfectionists. If you can't do it perfectly, why do it at all? 
So focus on ‘Progress not Perfection’. Things don't have to be an either-or issues. As an exercising example: if you can't find a full hour to work out, but can sneak in a few stretches, dance moves or a walk around the block, know that you are making progress and pat yourself on the back for it. 
Alter Your Negative Self-Talk - If you’re constantly thinking that you’re not good enough, then it can be hard to overcome perfectionism. This negative self-talk that goes on in your mind can be detrimental to your self-esteem. By altering your self-talk, you can have a more positive effect on your self-esteem which can lead to a healthy outlook on life.

Practice Acceptance in “Good Enough” - While logically, you may understand that perfectionism is an unrealistic expectation, your perfectionism may come from an emotional place deep inside of you. Your mind may create thoughts that your work is not good enough yet.  Each time when you’ve completed a task and know that you did a good job even if it may not be perfect, remind yourself that you are doing your best in the amount of time given.

 Need more help? Get this great book by Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, 

I love that essential oils are great natural tools to help give you added support. Try diffusing and/or applying topically a drop over your heart and/or to pulse points. Remember the quality of the essential oils you use makes all the difference. Learn More About Essential Oils Video
Essential Oils for Perfectionism
Arborvitae - the oil of divine grace
Decreases: Feeling that life is a struggle, excessive effort, need to control, distrust, rigidity
Increases: Peace, surrender, relaxing, effortless living

Bergamot - the oil of self-acceptance
Decreases: Feelings of despair, low self-esteem, self-judgment
Increases: Self-acceptance, optimism, confidence, hopeful, good enough

Cardamom - the oil of objectivity and self-control
Decreases: Frustration, blaming, unclear thinking, anger
Increases: Objectivity, tolerance, patience, self-control

Cypress - the oil of motion & flow
Decreases: Controlling, fear, perfectionism, being stuck, rigidity
Increases: Flexibility, trust, flowing with life, adaptability, emotional growth
Forgive - the oil of freedom and forgiveness
Decreases: Critical, judgmental thoughts & feelings, blaming, bitter or angry feelings
Increases: Forgiveness, feeling light, free, understanding, tolerant & loving

Serenity - oil of tranquility in stress
Decreases: Stress, emotional overwhelm, anxiousness, restlessness
Increases: Calm, tranquility, peace, relaxation, connection

Vetiver - the oil of centering
Decreases: Apathy, stress, need to escape, disconnect, feeling scattered
Increases: Feeling grounded, present and rooted, emotional connection

Ylang Ylang - the oil of the heart
Decreases: Overstressed, sadness, joylessness, buried emotions
Increases: Freedom, playfulness, intuitiveness, heart healing, joy, acceptance

I hope you found this helpful. 
And if you find that you tend to be a people-pleaser, since these two do inter connect, check out my blog post on 

Blessings for Health, Joy , & Laughter,

Comments (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment