The Pros and Cons of Being a Perfectionist
Setting the Standard: What is Perfectionism?
As we wrote in our previous article ‘How Much of a Perfectionist are you?’, perfectionists tend to feel that nothing they ever do is good enough; that they need to work unrelentingly in a bid to better themselves, or else there’ll be negative consequences. If a perfectionist feels he/she is not meeting the high standards they hold for themselves, they will often experience distress or inner unrest which can affect negatively their mood or result in anxiety.
With this description perfectionism sounds like a really unpleasant, unwanted trait. So why do so many of us personify it? Well, as behavioural psychology tells us, everything we do is done because we believe it will be of benefit to us (or it has benefitted us somehow in the past) - and perfectionism is no different. The perfectionistic thoughts described above breed by definition an intense drive to perform well, and their continued presence in our lives can be put down to the successes and external validation (who doesn’t love compliments?!) this increased drive once brought us.
How addicted are to our phone?
I was sitting in waiting the dentist the other day. It was full of people waiting to be treated. I had not forgotten to take my mobile phone with me, so I was looking around the room; posters, pictures, and magazines. I then turned my attention to the people sitting. All of them apart from a more elderly lady were looking at their mobile phones. I thought to myself, "at least I am not the only person not connected to my phone". Then a few seconds later the lady gets her phone out and starts texting. And here I am alone among people buried in their phones, not acknowledging each other. There was something about this experience that made me step back a little and think about the role of technology in our lives and how it can enable but also disable our genuine connections with others.
The seven most difficult feelings for emotional eaters
All theories of emotional eating share the assumption that before emotional eating occurs, we tend to experience a negative affect that we cannot properly regulate. This affect may prompt us to employ strategies that we have available but that are not necessarily adaptive in the long term. This is an important finding, since it suggests that the problem is not necessarily associated with negative emotions per se, but rather with the lack of adaptive coping strategies available to regulate our negative affect.
Another 6 apps that boost your mental health
Mental well-being and inner balance are not a luxury. They are a necessity. In a world of constant worrying, being busy, commuting, changing and adjusting, we need some stability, and that’s something that needs to come from within.
So, we continued our research on applications that you can install on your mobile phone and that can help you find more inner peace and become more mindful within your environment. In our previous article, we shared 6 apps that boost mental health, and here we continue with another 6 (there are a lot, indeed, so we had to choose wisely).
6 apps that boost your mental health
Technology has often been blamed as the villain of the contemporary world, bringing more trouble and threats than help and comfort to our once-peaceful-and-simple life.
For example, smartphones. We spend so much time in front of our screens, looking forward to getting a “like” or a reaction from our followers, to see how our friends are spending their time and how much fun they are having, as well as comparing our body, our friends, our holidays and our happiness with theirs.
The result? We feel like we will never be as good as them, have as much fun as them, be as loved as them, and so on. Yes, it is true that smartphones have been blamed for giving us a lot of trouble since they were invented, from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to panic attacks or even to making us feel depressed.
Are smartphones just bad news? Are they nothing more than a way to feel miserable about ourselves? One could say it all depends on the way you look at it…
Familiarizing ourselves with our emotions
During an argument with a partner, friend, or parent, has it ever occured that they were begging you to share what you were feeling, yet all you could do was stand there frozen?
Did you ever find yourself in situations where you intellectually knew what was happening yet had no idea what you were feeling or experiencing emotionally? As if suddenly, there were no words in the dictionary to choose from.
Are you someone who tends to ‘react after’, not reacting to situations as they are happening, finding it almost impossible to FEEL what is happening at a specific time such as during an argument? As a result, you may have come across to others as if you ‘didn’t care’, as if the situation did not affect you?
“Listen to your gut”, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”
These are everyday sayings which actually refer to the concept "psychosomatic symptoms". So what exactly are they?
The word ‘psychosomatic’ combines two ancient Greek phrases. ‘Psyche’, the Greek for soul, is commonly seen in words like psychologist, psychiatrists, psychedelics, etc., and is a reference to the concept of the mind. ‘Soma’ is the Greek term for our body; that is, our limbs, organs, bones, head, face, genitals, and anything else we consider as part of our physical anatomy.
Psychosomatics, then, is a term describing the influence of mental or emotional states on bodily symptoms and sensations.
Food and Emotions: the invisible connection
Nowadays only few of us see food purely as a source of nutrition for our bodies. Food is generally associated with pleasure, reward and a whole range of human emotions and conditions.
Just think of all the projections of popular culture depicting people eating cartons of ice cream after a break up or sipping tea in order to fill up discomforting silences.
What is Self-Compassion?
"Be kind to yourself."
We can hear this quite a lot, but what does it actually mean? Being kind to ourselves relates to the act of self-compassion. Before we think about self-compassion, let’s focus our attention to compassion. Compassion is the process of being aware of suffering in others and the drive to do something about that in order to sooth or prevent it. The word compassion may hold different connotations for us.
What is Empathy?
Empathy is our capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position, considering their emotions and experiences.
To get into the other person's shoes, as it is widely known.
Empathy is innate to human beings and it is our neurological response to another person’s emotions. The response to what is felt by another person occurs automatically and often out of our conscious awareness. From an early age we are wired to experience what another person is feeling which provides essential learning cues and marks our successful development.
How our inner critic can affect our relationships.
Being on the receiving end of criticism is never easy. Being criticised probably comes in moments when we feel ourselves most vulnerable - whenever we make mistakes, feel embarrassed or fear disappointing others. Having somebody to judge us about being wrong, foolish or inadequate is very unpleasant and challenging experience for anyone. However, the impact of criticism to different people varies immensely and is based on one major factor - their childhood.
Plato said “opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”
People talk. And we hear. People tend to have opinions about everything and anyone. It doesn’t matter if their opinion is an argument or “just saying”, they will feel entitled to express it and we will fall for it. In other words, many of us tend to see ourselves through other people's eyes. Every day, every moment of it, we feel judged about our looks, how we behave, how smart we are or if we are being good partners or good parents.
There’s something really sad about Christmas.
You can see it in all these commercials with families gathered around the table, blissfully celebrating the festive days with their loved ones, exchanging perfectly-wrapped presents next to shiny Christmas trees, with everyone smiling and feeling so lucky to have each other.
What??? You can’t see it yet?
To give you a hint:
In this “merry” picture, projected through media and social media...
...where are the people who are grieving the loss of a loved one?
...where are the people who can’t spend time with their friends and family because of work?
There is this idea that Inner peace is like a destination, where, upon reaching, you become a brand new person and nothing upsetting or discomforting can get to you anymore. In this “Inner Peace Land” (if we can call it like that), there is no stress or any uncomfortable emotion; there is no conflict, there is no pain, there is no fear. And we even believe that if once something upsetting comes, we will not even blink, due to our “zen” zone that we have successfully acquired.
Reality Check: is there such a place? NO.
(Guest article by Chantal Wendel, virtual personal assistant at Sapphire Virtual PA)
Our brain is a wonderful, magical thing. If we would process every impulse from the world around us that comes into our brains one by one, it would be a sure recipe for immediate madness. Fortunately, the brain has developed systems to handle this. For example, if you look at a building, the brain does not think about each individual stone, window and door, but it immediately sees a complete house.
This is how I call any challenging situation, any hard time in life, that brings turbulence in my inner -hard-won- balance.
I call it like that not only because it is -objectively- a difficult moment in your life. But mainly because it blows a strong wind inside your mind, it makes you feel you have no shelter to protect yourself, it thunders against all what you have believed and dreamt so far, it pours you into an emotional rollercoaster, and all this you have to fight it by yourself.
It has become something like a habit. To watch the movie "Groundhog Day" every now and then and remind myself of its life-changing message. Besides having a blast just by watching it.
For those who haven't seen it, Phil (Bill Murray) is the weatherman in a local channel and he is assigned to travel to a small town and broadcast the "Groundhog Day", a day when a groundhog "predicts" the weather for the next six weeks, tradition says. Boring, right?
Each December I find myself engaged (sometimes in a frenetic way), determining what my New Year's Resolutions will be.
The first thing I do is go back to the last year's list and tick all those that have been achieved. Most of the times the result is somewhere between "ok" and "satisfying" and if there are a few non-kept resolutions, I just convince myself that those were the "substitute" ones, the ones that would just bring some extra flavour to the year's achievement.
Second step is to figure out what I want for the following year. This December, however, making my New Year Resolution list is somewhat different. For some strange reason, I keep asking myself "If you already know where you're heading, why do you need a list"?
Defeating anxiety, stress, negative thoughts, procrastination and fears has never been easy. And it never will be. Not because there is something wrong with us, or because we are doing it the wrong way, but because it is something that indeed requires from us conscious effort, time, practice and a lot of mental energy. We are actually rewiring our brain: changing the neuron paths existing since childhood which take us a certain way, into a different path, where things happen in a different way and are linked to different thoughts.
In order to build that new path, we need to develop some specific skills. Attention: don't go into "all or nothing" thinking, saying to yourself "I don't have that skill, so I will never beat anxiety". It's not "you either have it or you don’t". We all have these skills, each and every one of us, at a different degree. And we can all work on these skills, a little bit every day, some skills more than others. There is no recipe here. No one is master in all of them - we are all trying our best.
Everyone talks about the downside of depression. But is there a good side at all? Anger and stress, for example, can help us adapt to external threat and protect ourselves. But depression? Is there any actual benefit in it?
Depression helps us build stronger relationships.
At some point in our life we experience the pain and grief associated with the loss of a loved one. We feel depressed, our life seems empty, we are stressed, and what seemed interesting in the past, now appears meaningless. This pain makes us understand how close we were to this person and how important they were to our life. it is during this depressive phase that we acknowledge how significant our relationships are to our well-being.
Once upon a time there was a man called Odysseus, the king of Ithaka who fought for a decade at the war of Troy together with his men. After the war, he started his trip back home but unfortunately he and his 12 ships were driven off course by storms. They travelled all around the Mediterranean sea, chased by angry gods, seduced by vindictive women, life-threatened and shipwrecked by humanlike landscapes. During 10 years of struggling, Odysseus lost all his men but eventually escaped and survived from all these tortures and challenges, because he was the only one believing in his return back home. And he reached there alone.
Three weeks on holidays. After an exhausting year of work, work, work. Three books chosen. (Or, let to be chosen.)
1. One from the classics: The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway. (Actually that was a re-read. I first read it during my school years. Different eras, different perspectives, totally different insights.)
2. One from my favorites authors: What I talk when I talk about running, Haruki Murakami. (Or, how a writer can blow your mind, even if he's talking about his running marathons)
3. One from a random pick (someone's suggestions, somewhere in the web): A tale for the time being, Ruth Ozeki. (It turned out to be my first book written by a Zen Buddhist priest which didn't seem at all to be written by a Zen Buddhist priest.)
A really wise insight from a 6-year-old talking about how she deals with scary thoughts, how she lets go from circumstances that are about to "close" and how she recognizes that time is necessary to heal these negative feelings and to make these thoughts go away. It's as if she has been trained in mindfulness.
Amazed, speechless and moved by this story.
Share with everybody, it's worth spreading, really!
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.