Monday, July 12, 2010

How to beat perfectionism? Get Diabetes!

Today I read this article about the impacts of perfectionism on your health.  As expected, it started off with the hypothesis that the increased levels of stress felt by people who strive for perfection eventually led to high blood pressure, increased resting heart rate, and untimely death.

But there is a silver lining: diabetes.  Apparently, like most things, perfectionism can be good and bad.  The good kind is when you strive for perfection in something like managing a disease.  Obviously if you have doctor's orders to stick to a diet and exercise regimen to improve your health, and you do so impeccably, then your well-being will increase and you will be rewarded for your perfection.  In a study explained by the article, specifically people with diabetes experienced a higher degree of health when they got picky about their lives.  Yay anal diabetics!

And then there is the bad kind.  You know, the kind that does lead to high blood pressure, increased resting heart rate, and untimely death.  Luckily, there is also another silver lining - depending on the source of expectations for perfection, perfectionists will fare differently.  It turns out that perfectionists who self-impose expectations of perfection (like mio), experience a lower level of self-loathing than people who feel that society expects them to be perfect or who expect other people to be perfect. 

I haven't done the research on this, but I think a lower level of self-loathing would be preferable in this particular situation, so I'll take it.

As a perfectionist who strives for 100% awesomeness every day in my nutrition and exercise habits, this is great news.  Not only can I keep on being a nut, I can do so with the confidence that as long as everyone else keeps expecting me to screw up, my self-worth and well-being will continue to rise.  Now if only I could get diabetes, I could really make things happen.

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