Perfectionists' lives are often structured by an endless list of "shoulds" that serve as rigid rules for how their lives must be led. With such an overemphasis on shoulds, perfectionists rarely take into account their own wants and desires. If you have reached the third “P,” drastic steps are needed. Seriously consider getting help from a peer who can be a “buddy,” the counselling centre, your advisor. Ask them to keep you accountable. This works like a gym buddy.
Perfectionism, can be incredibly stressful. It puts you in a state of constant worry that you’re on the brink of failure. You generate a disproportionate amount of stress for a small amount of value. It also tends to push you past your energy reserves and into exhaustion. Not all perfectionists procrastinate but perfectionism is very often used as an excuse for fear of failure. Perfectionists may give up completely on their goals and set different goals thinking, "This time if only I try harder I will succeed." Such thinking sets the entire cycle in motion again.
Perfection is a self-imposed requirement. Perfectionists often equate failure to achieve their goals with a lack of personal worth or value. Trying to be perfect is a way of trying to protect themselves from criticism, rejection, disapproval even afraid of success. Success will bring changes. It will bring scrutiny and that might expose the “man behind the curtain.” You wonder if you’ll be able to live up to the success and maintain it. You may have even convinced yourself that you can’t. The only reason this strategy makes sense is if you’re convinced that you’re never going to get any better at what you do, leaving this minor polishing at the margins all that’s left in your control.
- Check whether there are other self-limiting labels used in the areas that you procrastinate e.g. “I'm not good at finances” which keeps you from doing your budget.
- Focus on the process of doing an activity not just on the end result. Evaluate your success not only in terms of what you accomplished but also in terms of how much you enjoyed the task. Recognize that there can be value in the process of pursuing a goal.
- If you have been procrastinating for a long time, you may recognise the “devil” on your shoulder that talks you into procrastinating. ”It’s too hard”, “I’ll do it later”, “I’ll get to it after I finish something else”, “It’s not that important”. This negative “self-talk” is very influential as it is usually repeated many times. The repetition makes it believable and works like a charm. Make sure your positive affirmations outnumber the negative ones. Show yourself the same kindness as you would show to others.
- Try to do a “rough draft” of whatever you’re working on. It doesn't have to be good! You can fix it the next day when you gain a little distance from your work.
- When you feel anxiety welling, take several deep breaths, breathing out slowly.
- Confront the fears that may be behind your perfectionism by asking yourself, "What am I afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen?"
Be grateful for every milestone you reach and acknowledge that its pretty cool. Thanks everyone who helped you along the way.
Put things in perspective. Keep Learning and NOT dwell in the past. Realise everyone is bond to make mistakes but what is important is what you do after. Embrace failures – they are the best teacher. Mentors can guide you but you are the one who experience and feel it.
Stress is Not an abstract concept with no effect on us in our daily life. The right kind of stress helps you have fun, and people pay good money to get that from amusement parks and films. The brain also makes Dopamine, which makes people more talkative and excitable. Protein promotes the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote alertness. These hormones once essential for fight or flight, today has led to a widespread and debilitating problems, Stress. It has been scientifically brought to light that Chronic stress responses can be as unsubtle as shutting down your immune system and effecting your learning and short-term memory by killing your brain cells. If that wasn't enough, it can causes chronic depression. It literally kills you by reducing your length of life.
Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time. The response is useful for protecting you against physical dangers. However, your body reacts in the same way to situations that you find threatening, but which you can't deal with appropriately by fighting or running away. Most people can relate to feeling tense, uncertain and, perhaps, fearful at the thought of sitting an exam, going into hospital, attending an interview or starting a new job. You may worry about feeling uncomfortable, appearing foolish or how successful you will be. In turn, these worries can affect your sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate.
Increased muscular tension can cause discomfort and headaches. Changes to the blood supply affecting the digestive system may also cause nausea and sickness. The psychological effects of anxiety include fear, heightened alertness, being on edge, irritable, and unable to relax or concentrate. You may feel an overwhelming desire to seek the reassurance of others, to be weepy and dependent.
The way you think can be affected: you may fear that the worst is going to happen and slot everything that occurs into a pessimistic outlook on life. For example, if a friend is late, you worry that they have had an accident or don't want to see you, when in fact their train was delayed. They may start steering clear of certain situations, and maintain relationships that help them avoid situations they find distressing.
Sometimes, anxiety can take the form of a panic attack. This is the rapid build-up of overwhelming sensations, such as a pounding (and sometimes irregular) heartbeat, feeling faint, sweating, nausea, chest pains, breathing discomfort, feelings of losing control, shaky limbs and legs turning to jelly. Panic attacks may sometimes occur for no reason, and people may not be able to understand why. They may feel as if their mind has gone totally out of control. Some may develop a phobia about going out and about, or may withdraw from contact with people, even their family and friends. Others have obsessive thoughts or repetitious behaviour
Cognitive freezing: "Frozen with fear," "Deer in headlights," inability to make a decision or do anything. Some of us experience it too often with too much intensity. We realize we are hurting and pushing away the people in our lives, damaging our family, social and work relationships. But even after we realize we are at fault, we don't seem to have much control over ourselves.
When something sets us off, by the time we realize what's happening our body has already been thrown into a heightened state of alert and our thoughts fan the flames. Even while we're watching ourselves, and perhaps even wondering about our overreaction, we feel caught up in the state of mind and don't know how to turn it off.
The subconscious mind automatically references a similar situation from its experience and applies the general course of action that worked in that situation to the current situation. If no remotely similar situation is available in memory, the mind is at a loss to decide what to do and cognitive freezing may occur.
During our aggressive fight-or-flight reaction, it's almost impossible to learn new tricks. When hormones and emotions spin out of control, we freeze, making it impossible to perform complicated and detailed movements. But it is even more difficult to do so without adequate, realistic, and prior training. Training that is realistic, repetitive, understandable, and believable potentially reduces the non-adaptive effects of human evolution.
Triggers or "hot buttons" are events that start our anger. Even though we know about them, we still get upset. When we're feeling emotionally raw, for example when we're hungry, tired, cranky, or been experiencing frustrating emotions, we have less resilience. There may be times of the day when we routinely tend to be more vulnerable, such as when we first wake up, when we come home after a long day at work, just before dinner or as we are getting ready for bed. When we have doubts about our own value, and don't feel that we're worth much, it becomes extremely important that other people give us the proper "respect." When we feel "disrespected," even if the perceived insult was small or even imagined, we may rage as powerfully as if our life was being threatened.
We review our list of expectations of what the other person "should have done" as if we are the righteous keeper of the rules. Or we focus directly on our negative attitude and think of all the reasons we're so upset. We see red, or some other angry image. In short, we stir ourselves up. Whether we're bottled up or acting out, the surge of feelings leaves us with a lingering sense of anger, victimization, and disappointment that permeate us and those around us for hours, and things we've said could continue to hurt them for years.
Acting in means turning the anger in towards ourselves, using tricks to shut off our feelings, and in the process often hurting our health. This process of clamping down on highly charged feelings requires an enormous amount of energy, and leaves us edgy and fearful and even depressed. Acting in also leaves our anger unexpressed. To try to escape, we may reach for a bottle or pill to chemically damp down our feelings.
Emotional or psychological trauma can also affect your memory. Memory loss is a natural survival skill and defence mechanism humans develop to protect themselves from psychological damage. When in survival mode, it is imperative to focus only on keeping the body safe. The higher cognitive (thinking) functions are, in effect, shut off to allow the primitive survival mode to keep us alive. Functions such as learning, memory, complex decision-making, attention and concentration are impaired. When attention is not paid to details, these ideas are not encoded into the brain, and are not committed to memory, leading to what we perceive as memory problems (when in fact, they are attention problems due to the brain's anxiety response). A person will often suppress memories of a traumatic event until they are ready to handle them, which may never occur.
Emotional trauma can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, which can manifest itself in different ways including flashbacks of the event and intrusive, unwanted thoughts about the trauma. It’s also a good idea to seek professional help if you:
- Have trouble functioning at home or work.
- Suffer from severe fear, anxiety or depression.
- Are experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares or flashbacks.
- Are emotionally numb and disconnected from others.
- Are avoiding things that remind you of the trauma.
- Are using alcohol or drugs to feel better.
Depression as a stress response would appear to be a significant failure of adaptation. However it may be argued the purpose of mood, and by implication depression, is part of a mechanism whereby the brain can register rewards and punishment. Rewards induce good feelings and punishment induces bad feelings. Mood is thereby a socialising agent.
Because of problems of dependency, doctors usually prescribe tranquillisers and sleeping pills only as a temporary measure for severe or disabling anxiety. They are given at the lowest possible dose, for the shortest possible time, and not longer than about four weeks. The side effects can include feeling sluggish, unable to concentrate, and not caring about anything. Withdrawal symptoms may occur, if you take them for any length of time. These can seem worse than the original feelings of anxiety. The long-term use of tranquillisers has also been linked with having panic attacks. Some people may have withdrawal symptoms when coming off these drugs, such as dizziness, tingling, and stomach upsets or headache. The tranquillisers can't tackle the root cause of the problem, but they can bring some relief, until such time as other forms of treatment can be put in place.
Mind-setting and mental conditioning (beliefs in our own capabilities). It is very simple: competence breeds confidence, so it makes sense that the more confident you are in defending yourself, the less you will be affected by stress and anxiety.
Proper mind-setting includes having important, difficult decisions made and conditioned into your mind ahead of time. This is required to produce instant action in dangerous situations, because cognitive performance decreases dramatically under severe stress.
Correcting the second belief, the "I can't" attitude, may require more work. First, examples can be cited of weak, frail, physically ungifted and formerly absolutely non-violent people overcoming huge odds to survive in self-defence situations. In the end, however, the believer will have to demonstrate to him/herself that s/he is indeed capable. Learning how to handle difficult situations and to stand up for yourself can make you feel more confident and, therefore, more relaxed.
Average, untrained individuals have survived against amazing odds, riding on nothing but this one attribute (and a bit of luck). This attribute is MOTIVATION. Hopefully, you can see how some introspection and visualization can make love your unconquerable motivation in the face of the direst odds. Identify and cultivate your motivation, so that it may push you to survive against all odds.
Once we understand that some situations routinely and predictably trigger our overreaction, we can learn to anticipate them. We are more likely to become triggered when we are tired or needy. We become aware of our own vulnerability and learn to re-evaluate and challenge our own over-reactive impulses.
Learning how to soothe ourselves increases the quality of our lives, by giving us the mental space to react with more poise and balance, reducing the stress that anger creates. Counteracting fight-or-flight arousal is a valuable life skill that can help our relationships, improve our effectiveness at work, and reduce the harmful health effects of stress.
At every step along the way, we can develop skills that help us improve our emotional response. We can learn to reduce or avoid trigger situations. After triggers get us started, we can use calming, positive explanations to help reduce the tension. Even after the adrenaline starts arousing our body, we can learn techniques to soothe the intensity of our body reaction. After the episode is over, we learn to talk ourselves down, improve harmony with others and find closure.
Self-soothing is a skill we are supposed to learn as children. When we became agitated, our parents spoke to us with a gentle soothing voice, rocked us in their arms, and told us everything was going to be alright. Their reassurance taught us that our emotional world was safe, and that we could let go of our agitated feelings and regain our composure. If we didn't get enough of this training, we can coach ourselves now, by imagining the calming hand of a kind parent. We can say gentle, reassuring, soothing things to ourselves, to remind us of the peace and calmness we can find within ourselves. Even if it sounds peculiar at first, we gradually become comforted hearing ourselves say "It will be alright", "This will pass," or "I can cope with this situation.“
It's difficult to change deep emotional habits. We can work at it with support groups, and self-help books and tapes. A counsellor can help us uncover reasons for our actions, and help us learn ways to move beyond our current state. By slowing down and taking the process of change one step at a time, we make incremental steps in a manageable transition.
Taking action may make you feel more anxious at first. Even thinking about anxiety can make it worse. But facing up to anxiety, and how it makes you feel, can be the first step in breaking the cycle of fear and insecurity. It's important to remember how much better you will feel when you can begin to relax, take control, and lead a fuller life.