How perfectionism is harming your health
THE desire to be perfect is something most of us have felt at some point in our lives. Studying for the perfect test result, searching for the perfect partner, working through the night to smash that perfect presentation. Often, having high standards can drive success, but for some people, diligence and motivation can shift into perfectionism, a sorely misunderstood personality trait that can have dangerous consequences.
Perfectionism has increased significantly over the past three decades, a recent analysis shows. Young people in particular place higher demands on themselves and on others. Our dog-eat-dog world, full of impeccable images of what our bodies, careers and aspirations should look like, is creating a rising tide of millennials who may be putting themselves at risk of mental and physical illness in their search for the perfect life….
Why stress is dangerous: and how to avoid its effects.
In November 2017, two eye surgeons from a hospital in Beirut reported an intriguing case of visual loss in a colleague. A specialist in the retina, the colleague had suddenly developed a patch of blurry vision in one eye just a day or two after an intensely stressful day in the operating room. This was not the first time it had happened. The surgeon had experienced four such episodes in just a year, each preceded by a stressful day of operating.
The retinal surgeon was diagnosed with central serous chorioretinopathy (CSCR). A small amount of fluid had collected beneath a tiny region of the surgeon’s retina, causing it to temporarily detach. The condition resolved after a few weeks, and a strict stress-management plan prevented another episode from happening again.
First described in 1866, CSCR has been tentatively linked to stress ever since World War Two, when several cases were reported in military personnel. Although subsequent research has associated CSCR with stress-related mechanistic pathways, it is often labelled “idiopathic” (arising from an unknown cause) if no trigger other than stress is found. Departing from convention, the surgeons labelled the condition “Operating Room CSCR” identifying stress as its…