Perfectionism can have an ugly side. On one hand, setting high standards can be good motivation; on the other hand, worrying about not achieving those standards can be bad for your health.
There are two types of perfectionism, according to a study published in the Society for Personal and Social Psychology. "Perfectionistic strivings" describes setting goals and seeking to achieve those goals. "Perfectionistic concerns" describes thoughts of not living up to those expectations or letting people down.
It’s the perfectionistic concerns we should worry about, according to the study. It can lead to burnout and possible health risks associated with excessive anxiety, fatigue and depression.
“People need to learn to challenge the irrational beliefs that underlie perfectionistic concerns by setting realistic goals, accepting failure as a learning opportunity, and forgiving themselves when they fail,” researcher Andrew Hill said in a press release.
The findings were based on a meta-analysis of 43 studies conducted over 20 years.
Want to stop being such a perfectionist? The nonprofit AnxietyBC offers a list of ways to overcome perfectionism.