What Are Mindset Minisodes?
I’ve been hosting the Phoenix Helix Podcast for over 8 years, and there are now over 200 episodes in the archives! The long-form interviews you know and love will continue every 4 weeks. In between, I’ll be sharing short episodes inspired by my book: Healing Mindset – A Guide to the Mind-Body Connection for People With Autoimmune Disease. Stress is a powerful trigger of inflammation and autoimmune activity, and most of us have experienced stress-induced autoimmune flares. That’s the power of the mind-body connection working against us. However, we can also make the mind-body connection work for us! Simple techniques can help us relieve stress and send an anti-inflammatory cascade through our bodies instead. That’s my goal with these episodes. In each one, I’ll teach a simple technique you can start using right away.
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Full disclosure: I am a recovering perfectionist, and in spite of knowing that perfection is impossible and human beings are fallible (including me), I still sometimes find myself unconsciously striving for perfection, especially in times of stress. Why is this a problem? Because there’s a big difference between healthy striving and pursuing the impossible. With perfectionism, fear of failure can prevent us from trying new things altogether. When we have goals, we might procrastinate because we’re afraid we won’t do them perfectly. We often have trouble accepting help because we don’t trust anyone else to do things “right.” We hate mistakes, judging both ourselves and other people any time we spot one. Nothing is ever good enough to be considered complete. And we apply that standard to ourselves as well, never feeling that we are good enough. Our inner critic gets loud, and we become very sensitive to the criticism of others.
Not surprisingly, there are health consequences to this type of perfectionism. Not only does it increase depression and anxiety, but across a number of health conditions, including autoimmune disease, it worsens health outcomes. This is important to know because if we apply perfectionism to our healing path (which many of us do), it can backfire.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care at all and abandon all of our goals and standards, but there’s a big difference between harmful perfectionism and a healthy striving for positive things. With healthy striving, you have goals you’re excited to work on. You’re interested in personal and professional growth. Mistakes don’t set you back – you learn from them instead. An inner coach replaces your inner critic. You still have standards, but you’re gentler with yourself and others on what it takes to achieve them. You accept that human beings are imperfect and that includes you. You don’t spend your life fighting that reality, reaching for an impossible ideal. Self-compassion starts to replace self-judgment. And this mindset leads to greater success.
Technique: Embracing Imperfection
How do we shift our mindset from harmful perfectionism to healthy striving instead? A mantra can be very helpful. It’s a simple statement that helps us focus on the change we want to make. I’m going to give you some examples, but you can also create your own. Here are five that help me:
- Perfection is impossible. Strive for damn good.
- You don’t need to be perfect to be worthy.
- Done is better than perfect.
- Mistakes are stepping stones to wisdom.
- I am perfectly imperfect.
I also recommend making your mantra visible, so that you see it everyday. You can get creative with this.
- Set a pop-up reminder on your phone that displays the mantra once or twice a day.
- Put a post-it note somewhere you’ll see it every day, like your computer, fridge, or bathroom mirror. You can even move it around the house, to keep it fresh in your mind.
- Order a custom mug online to drink from every morning.
- Create a work of art to frame for your wall. (But if you choose this last one, approach it playfully rather than perfectly.)
- There are countless ways to make your mantra visible. Choose something that appeals to you.
Perfectionism Red Flag
One final thought about perfectionism. In my life, perfectionism often appears as a stress response. It’s a way for me to try to find some control when life feels out of control. The problem is that this doesn’t truly help me. Instead, it increases my stress levels by setting impossible standards and adding unnecessary tasks to my daily life. Now, I’ve learned to notice when I start doing this. It’s a wake-up call for me to realize I’m under stress and choose healthier ways to manage it. My book below has 96 healthier ways to soothe stress in the moment, and also help long-term.
My Book: Healing Mindset
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