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Perfectionism Could Have a Negative Impact on Your Health

Perfectionism Can Be Harmful to Your Health

Like many fit people, I have elements of perfectionism, though I wouldn't describe myself as a perfectionist. Good thing, I guess, because trying to be a perfect angel all the time could have a devilish effect on your health.

Striving to be perfect — say, never missing a workout and avoiding all junk food — may be linked to imperfect physical health and a higher risk of death. At a recent symposium, scientists discussed the positive and negative sides of wanting to achieve perfection across all aspects of one's life.

For some, the drive for perfectionism means losing control under heavy stress, while studies have linked perfectionism to migraines and asthma. Most recently, a study followed 450 adults and found that those with high perfectionism scores had a 51 percent higher risk of death than those without the trait. That could be because perfectionists spend so much time striving to be perfect that they neglect their health and increase their stress. However, for people suffering from type 2 diabetes — a disease that requires strict discipline — high-scoring perfectionists had a 26 percent lower risk of death.

The symposium warned that further studies are needed, of course, but to me, the message makes sense. Take care of yourself, but give yourself a break sometimes, too. Since perfection isn't possible, why make yourself sick worrying about it? Do you think you have perfectionist traits, and if so, what are they?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
amber512 amber512 5 years
I absolutely have perfectionist tendencies! Came from my being a first-born with all of the expectations put upon me, and me constantly trying to live up to it all.
Kaolla Kaolla 5 years
Very interesting post. I lost half of my hair last winter due to perfectionism on work, working out, social circles.. the stress was too much and I didn't even notice my breaking point until my hair fell out. I was crazy trying to improve myself all the time.. perfectionism can seriously drive you off the edge and I find it to be such a waste of potental and energy!! I hope I'm learning my lesson by now. Just waiting for my hair to grow back. It makes me so ashamed being so healthy physically as I've always been - and in the end I've MADE myself ill >_< good news it, I can make myself back to healty.
pariahlegal pariahlegal 5 years
I've been called a perfectionist since I was in first grade, and it's definitely affected pretty much every part of my life. I'm really hard on myself about eating right and working out every day (missed my workout this morning and it's driving me nuts!). My apartment has to be decorated perfectly, I always ahd to get As in school and I get really stressed when I make mistakes. Thanks for the reminder that obsessing over health isn't always the healthiest!
bidzill bidzill 5 years
yeah that is true, major brands do give out free samples of their popular health products best place to get yours is http://bit.ly/9UAtgc tell your friends and family too
Spectra Spectra 5 years
I tend to be very perfectionistic as well, mostly about my workouts. If I miss a workout and didn't plan on having the day off, I get very upset and tense about it. I also suffered from an eating disorder in college and I agree that being a perfectionist can lead to developing one. In my case, I was so focused on losing weight and staying "on track" that I sort of took it to the nth degree, so to speak.
newshoesrunner newshoesrunner 5 years
this makes total and complete sense to me. I have an all-or-nothing viewpoint when it comes to my diet...so when I find myself eating foods that are not "healthy" (which can be quite often), I end up going on a food rampage and punishing myself by eating more junk. So even though I really want to nourish myself properly, I usually end up bingeing and undoing all of my hard work.
ClassicalTorture ClassicalTorture 5 years
Life is meant to be lived, not nitpicked. Refusing to allow the occasional indulgence isn't going to keep you alive forever.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 5 years
I have perfectionist traits, as I've been told. Personally, I found that odd because I always saw room for improvement, and whatever I did was not good enough, so I kept improving, improving, improving . . . But see, I heard that is a sign of a perfectionist -- never being satisfied, and always trying to do it better. LOL Needless to say, I drove myself crazy. I learned to dial back my perfectionist (neurotic) behavior for mental health reasons. :)
bryseana bryseana 5 years
My weight - I work toward being and staying 110 lbs. I also try to avoid all junk food and sugary sweets. Also, when I was in school I'd get sad if I didn't make an A on a test or paper. It can be stressful. And I agree that it can probably take years off one's life.
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