A Perfect Anxiety Storm

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Neon sign reading "OK Cleaners"

Are you an “OK” cleaner, or does your room have to be perfectly clean?

It is surprising how often I meet a perfectionist in my anxiety clinic. Not that they tell me they are a perfectionist on the first session … it sort of emerges later. Sometimes they don’t realise they are a perfectionist until they examine themselves more closely. Of course, I never tell them they are a perfectionist – that’s not my job – I do not diagnose or analyse my client’s character, I simply help them to get to where they want.

There’s the person that wants their room to be perfectly clean every day, or the blog writer who edits and re-edits their blog thirty times until it is just right. I once saw a man trimming the edge of his lawn with a pair of scissors in order to get the perfect neat edge …these are the perfectionists. They want the things within their control to be done perfectly.

There is nothing wrong with desiring perfection – unless that desire is a source of anxiety. The problem comes when the perfectionist gets stressed out as they try in vain to achieve perfection. They build a self-imposed vision of their perfect world and get stressed out trying to achieve it – and then trying to maintain it. And that stress builds – and the stress creates anxiety.

It is a hard lesson to learn, but we all have to learn it at some time in our lives … “Good enough is good enough.” It is nice when we achieve perfection, but if whatever we do achieves its purpose, then it is good enough.

Whatever you can control – get it to be good enough. Cleaning your room so that it is hygienic and reasonable neat is good enough. You don’t have to clean under the bed every day. If your blog gets the main message over, you don’t need to re-edit it thirty times. Good enough is good enough.

And yes, it is nice to achieve perfection once in a while – but you don’t have to stress about it – provided you have achieved something that is good enough.

If you have trouble controlling your levels of stress and anxiety on your own, you might like to give hypnotherapy a try. I run my hypnotherapy clinic in Fleet, Hampshire – you can always try giving me a call.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Tim Maude

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07730 315503

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