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Anxiety and Perfectionism.

Anxiety and perfectionism are two concepts that are often intertwined. Perfectionism is defined as a tendency to set high standards for oneself and others, and to strive for flawlessness in performance. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. When perfectionism is taken to an extreme, it can lead to anxiety, which can have negative consequences on mental health and well-being.

Perfectionism can be both adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive perfectionism refers to setting high standards for oneself and striving to achieve them, but also being able to accept imperfection and learn from mistakes. Maladaptive perfectionism, on the other hand, refers to setting unrealistic and rigid standards for oneself and others, and being overly critical and self-critical.

People with maladaptive perfectionism may experience high levels of anxiety, as they are constantly worried about making mistakes or falling short of their standards. They may engage in repetitive and compulsive behaviors, such as checking and rechecking their work, to ensure that they have met their standards. This can lead to a cycle of anxiety and perfectionism, where anxiety leads to more perfectionism, and more perfectionism leads to more anxiety.

Anxiety can also interfere with a person's ability to function in everyday life. For example, it can cause difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can lead to poor performance at work or school, and can have negative consequences on personal relationships.

One strategy for managing anxiety and perfectionism is to recognize and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs. For example, if a person believes that they must be perfect in order to be accepted or valued by others, they may benefit from challenging this belief and recognizing that imperfection is a natural part of being human. They may also benefit from practicing self-compassion and learning to accept themselves, flaws and all.

Another strategy is to set realistic and flexible goals. This can involve breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps, and focusing on progress rather than perfection. It can also involve being open to feedback and constructive criticism, and using this feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can also be helpful in managing anxiety and perfectionism. These techniques can include meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. They can help to reduce feelings of stress and promote a sense of calm and focus, which can make it easier to overcome perfectionism and anxiety.

In addition, seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can be helpful for managing anxiety and perfectionism. A therapist can provide tools and strategies to manage anxiety and perfectionism, as well as offer support and guidance for navigating difficult emotions and situations.

Anxiety and perfectionism are two concepts that are often intertwined. When taken to an extreme, perfectionism can lead to anxiety, which can have negative consequences on mental health and well-being. Recognizing and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs, setting realistic and flexible goals, practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and seeking support from a mental health professional can all be helpful strategies for managing anxiety and perfectionism. With time and effort, it is possible to overcome these issues and achieve success in work and personal life.

Anxiety and Perfectionism




  • Hewitt, P. L., & Flett, G. L. (1991). Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: Conceptualization, assessment, and association with psychopathology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(3), 456–470.

  • Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., Blankstein, K. R., & Mosher, S. W. (1995). Perfectionism, rumination, and vulnerability to depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 19(5), 585–599.

Strategies for managing anxiety and perfectionism:

  • American Psychological Association. (2019). Strategies for managing stress.

  • Shafran, R., Egan, S., & Wade, T. (2010). Overcoming perfectionism: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques. Robinson.

  • Sirois, F. M., Molnar, D. S., & Hirsch, J. K. (2015). Self-compassion, stress, and coping in the context of chronic illness. Self and Identity, 14(3), 334–347.

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