Rise of perfectionism and its toll on our mental health

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Once an issue that affected a select few, perfectionism is now a growing cultural phenomenon, fueled by modern parenting and social media and an increasingly competitive economy, researchers say. Struggles with perfectionism have been the subject of multiple TED talksInstagram memesOprah discussions, and books.

The rise in perfectionism is especially troubling because it has been linked to an array of mental health issues — a meta-analysis of 284 studies found that high levels of perfectionism were correlated with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, deliberate self-harm and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The constant stress of striving to be perfect can also leave people fatigued, stressed and suffering from headaches and insomnia.

Related article:  Inside the brains of Neanderthals: Were they capable of 'symbolic and abstract thinking'?

To help her recognize when she was falling into her old patterns, [author Amber] Rae gave her inner perfectionist a name — Grace. Giving it a name helped her find some distance that allowed her to recognize what was happening when she fell into that way of thinking. “I could say, oh that’s Grace. And instead of bashing Grace, I could have compassion for her.” She would ask herself, what does Grace need right now? The answer could help her understand the needs that her perfectionism was bubbling up to try and meet.

Read full, original post: Perfectionism is killing us

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