Extreme perfectionism is a health hazard !

New research shows extreme perfectionism can lead to high levels of stress, depression, eating disorders, elevated anger and anxiety. Picture: AAP

DO you expect too much from yourself and others? Watch out! Extreme perfectionism is bad for you health

Does the thought of failure make you queasy? Do you put unreasonable demands on yourself and other people? Do you expect too much from colleagues, friends, your partner or your children? If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you may have perfection infection.
Research by Gordon Flett, professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada, shows that extreme perfectionism is bad for your health.
It can lead to a host of emotional, physical and relationship problems, including high levels of stress, depression, eating disorders, elevated anger and anxiety. Do you want to break the cycle? Try these five key tips to help break your perfectionist habits.
Learn to "professionalise and not personalise". Concentrate on being more objective and try to grow from your mistakes. Accept that as humans we have imperfections and it is impossible to ever be truly perfect.
Try being a little easier on yourself and set more realistic goals. If you don't beat your personal best score when you swim laps in the pool at lunchtime today, is it really going to impact on your life in a major way? Learn to substitute perfectionism with healthy achievement.
Understand that it's okay to make mistakes along the way. Shift your focus to engaging more in the present and embracing the now instead of focusing on the past
Start to identify unhealthy, all-or-nothing thoughts. Learn to substitute ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) with more PETs (performance-enhancing thoughts). Ask yourself questions such as, "Is there an alternate, healthier way to think?"
Set yourself strict time limits on projects and minimise procrastination. For example, if you're doing a work proposal, only allow yourself one hour for collating data and then another hour for writing the proposal.