Wellness Wednesday: How to Manage Perfectionism


Perfectionism can find its way into people’s lives at any given point. Whether that means the person is a perfectionist or maybe they know a perfectionist, the effects of perfectionism can often take over and have negative outcomes. Having order, consistency and organization is not always feasible, and it can be frustrating and tiring trying to make everything fit in those guidelines. Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital, shares questions to ask yourself when things aren’t going exactly how you planned.


Evaluate your standards.

Are your standards too high? English says that evaluating whether or not you yourself can meet the standards that you hold your relationships, jobs and friends to can determine whether it’s okay to bring your standards down a little bit. Before you react, take a step back and look at the situation from a different perspective to gauge whether your expectations are possible. Likewise, the standard you hold yourself to should never be so high that you always feel like you’re chasing something and only feeling tired in return. 


Use hypothesis testing.

What would it be like if you didn’t go the extra mile? Look at different scenarios in your life that you stress over and try a different approach. Instead of re-reading a message over and over to check for errors, go ahead and send it after you type it out. Instead of combing through reviews for a product online, buy it to form your own opinion about it. English recommends doing what feels unnatural to understand that even though the situation may not go as you planned, it’s not the end of the world. Your message might have a grammatical error, but the person still understood and responded. The online product might not be the best quality, but returning it is not a huge inconvenience. These are small steps that can help put you on a more easy-going path.


Challenge your perfectionistic thinking.

A cognitive-behavioral therapy method, challenging your perfectionistic thinking by questioning your instinctive thoughts can help your mental health. English uses the example of thinking your friend should always be on time and never late. She shares that realistic thoughts for this scenario would be to understand that this is a really high standard for your friend and everyone runs late at some point, even you. After rationalizing your thoughts tell yourself, “My alternative thoughts are more realistic and my perfectionist thoughts serve me no purpose and cause me more heartache.”



READ MORE: Wellness Wednesday: Ways to Support Your Mental Health at Work