How to help people handle perfection urge?

Perfection is good, but it is good if it is not impacting your life and making you go nuts over getting things in perfect shape and order. Nothing in this world is going to change if things are not done the way you would have thought them to be. So relax, take a break and leave that perfection nature making good amount of breathing space for you and people near you.

Here are some of the top ways and tips to combat the urge of being perfect.

Top tips for Handling Urge of Perfection

1. You need to expose your worries – You need to be talking about your worries and what will happen if the things are not perfect. You can talk to your parent, spouse, friends, co-workers, etc. This will help you build the emotional definition to all your worries and you will get a different perspective of things. The exposure will help you in getting in terms of your worries and recude them to a great extent.

2. Change your perspective about the outcome. Think that out of many outcomes and possibilities, there is only one dire consequence which you are too much worried about. If you judge the possible outcomes and think rationally about the perspective, you will be able to counter the urge of perfection.

3. Try and examine the evidence against your worst fear. Let us assume that you think if your shirt is not pressed perfectly you will have a big set back. Now try doing this one day and try to wear a wrinkled shirt. Check on your day and find out what went bad and what not. For all the things that went bad are worth so much of anxiety you are picking up in life due to this? Check on your own.

4. Mistakes and failures are opportnity to learn and move on. Have this thinking and start improving yourself rather than spending days and nights worrying about the final goal and its outcome. It’s not always the case that your worst nightmares come true. Have faith and move on.

5. Keep your focus on learning new things and skill, rather than being the best in everything you do. Every person in this world cannot be Pele and Ali at the same time. You cannot be a movie star and a Governor at the same time.

6. Take help to find the faults and unhealthy logic in your thinking. You can discuss with support groups, professionals and therapists if you cannot find solace in your relatives, or family members.

7. Watch movies and read boooks on how people have struggled and had multiple failures before they eneded up doing something which brought changes in people’s lives. There are many such personalities which helped us in every possible aspect of life and they taught an important lesson too – that things do not come easy. There are failures, mistakes, set backs and hardships along the way. And not all the stories are part of books and movies – there are cases where the end result was not that bright. And I mean it, these cases are far too many, than you think.

A Cautionary Tale: How Medications Can Increase the Feelings of Depression

Our bodies are miraculous self-regulating creations that when cared for with healthy food, activity, exercise, rest and proper hygiene, can last a long lifetime. There are times, however that they require chemical intervention to maintain function. There are a number of commonly prescribed medications that are saddled with side effects, including depression.

  • Accutane. Used as an acne treatment.
  • Alcohol. Although many report feelings of elation while drinking, it is a central nervous system depressant that anesthetizes emotions and represses inhibitions.
  • Antabuse: This medicine is used to treat alcoholism.
  • Anticonvulsants: These are used to control epileptic seizures.
  • Barbiturates: These are a group of central nervous system depressants that slow down brain function. These medicines have been used to treat anxiety and to prevent epileptic seizures.
  • Benzodiazepines: This group of central nervous system depressants is often used to treat anxiety and to relax muscles.
  • Beta-adrenergic blockers — Also known as beta-blockers, these medicines are used in the treatment of various heart problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure, chest pain caused by angina and certain cardiac arrhythmias. They may also be used to treat migraines.
  • Calcium-channel blockers: This group of medicines slows the heart rate and relaxes blood vessels and to treat high blood pressure, chest pain and congestive heart failure.
  • Estrogens: Female hormones are often used to treat symptoms of menopause and to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
  • Interferon alfa: This drug is designed to treat certain cancers as well as Hepatitis B and C.
  • Norplant: This is used as a contraception.
  • Opioids: This group of narcotics is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and addiction.
  • Statins: These medicines are used to lower cholesterol, protect against damage from coronary artery disease and prevent heart attacks; examples
  • Zovirax:  Doctors prescribe this drug to treat shingles and herpes.

Although it seems contradictory, people who experience medications as an antidote to depression sometimes experience a paradoxical effect and find it increasing.

In 1994 Italian psychiatrist Giovanni Fava, M.D, who is the editor of  Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, encouraged his peers to accept that it might indeed be so. He wrote: “Within the field of psycho-pharmacology, practitioners have been cautious, if not fearful of opening a debate on whether the treatment is more damaging than helpful. I wonder if the time has come for debating and initiating research into the likelihood that psychotropic drugs actually worsen, at least in some cases, the progression of the illness which they are supposed to treat.”

He reported that, the brain is trying restore its “homeostatic equilibrium,” referring to this enigmatic response to a psychiatric drug “oppositional tolerance.”

This was reinforced by the work of researcher, Rif El-Mallakh, the University of Louisville School of Medicine. In the June, 2011 issue of Medical Hypotheses, he offers “emerging evidence that, in some individuals, persistent use of antidepressants may be pro-depressant.” He refers to the term as ‘tardive dysphoria’.

Commonly prescribed anti-depressants include:

  • Celexa
  • Cymbalta
  • Desyrel
  • Effexor
  • Elavil
  • Latuda
  • Lamictal
  • Lexapro
  • Pamelor
  • Paxil
  • Prozac
  • Pristiq
  • Remeron
  • Seroquel
  • Viibryd
  • Wellbutrin
  • Zoloft
  • Zyprexa

Do these findings point to encouraging discontinuing use of anti-depressant medications?

If you find yourself noticing and increase in depressive symptoms and before considering any change in medications, speak with your treating physician. Look to complimentary interventions, including psychotherapy, time in nature, a fitness routine, healthy nutritional plan, socializing as able, refraining from isolating, listening to music, interacting with animals, stretching comfort zones by engaging in new activities, volunteering, journaling, light therapy (for Seasonal Affective Disorder), acupuncture, a support group, yoga, meditation, saffron, fish oil supplements, SAMe, as well as St. John’s Wort. Adding these items to your recovery tool kit may ameliorate some of the side effects.

An Attitude of Gratitude Helps Heal Depression

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

The alarm goes off and you roll over and groan as he sunlight beams brightly through your curtains. You wonder why you even bother to get up, since the voice of depression that chatters incessantly tells you that this is going to be like countless days before. Another day filled with responsibility, tasks to accomplish, traffic to fight and people to encounter who expect you to be on. It’s all you can do to get yourself in an upright position and muscle your way through the day.

Although it seems difficult to do, one remedy for counteracting the effects of depression is gratitude. Keep in mind that anything done with commitment and consistency can have a potent impact. As is so with any practice, the more you engage in it, the greater the benefit.

Robert Emmons, PhD from the University of California conducted a study linking gratitude with wellbeing. He discovered that those who regularly focused on that for which they were grateful, “reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).”

Why Are Grateful People Happier?

  • They tend to be more optimistic; seeing the glass not only half full, but, indeed ‘all full,’ since although it might only be half filled with liquid, the other portion is air.
  • They are generally more relaxed and tend to go with the flow.
  • They see what is right and not just what is wrong with nearly any situation.
  • They have a higher level of resilience and can bounce back from most challenges they face in their lives.
  • They are better able to engage The Relaxation Response; a term that was coined by Herbert Benson, M.D, about which he says, “The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress… and the opposite of the fight or flight response.
  • They note a decrease in depressive symptoms such as excessive fatigue and lethargy, a loss of interest in life circumstances, poor appetite and sleep and/or a reduction in both.
  • They experience as sense of accomplishment.

How Do You Begin and Sustain a Gratitude Practice?

  • Begin and end each day with a mental list of what you are thankful for.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Take a gratitude walk in nature and notice all that your senses take in.
  • Surround yourself with grateful people. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn states that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
  • Use positive self- talk, beginning with the words, “I am…” and then complete the sentence from there.
  • Listen to positive music, also known as Posi’. Many of these songs express gratitude.

Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

About halfway through my Ph.D. program, I was accepted into a club where distinguished graduate students, decorated faculty, and social elite gather for intellectual conversation over expensive wine and exotic meats. While being a good student was a key component to gaining admission—and I had always thought of myself as one—it wasn’t until I started speaking with my peers that I began to feel like a fraud; I was sure I was not nearly smart enough to be among them. My thoughts were consumed with ideas of being “found out,” and I would often tell myself that my application must have somehow slipped into the “accepted” pile. It was a mere feat of luck, nothing more, and it was only a matter of time before someone took notice.

What was interesting was how quickly these thoughts created behavioral consequences. I was much quieter than my usual extroverted self and I rarely voiced my opinions. It became harder and harder to attend club events without feeling as though I wouldn’t be able to hold my own next time. It wasn’t until speaking with a colleague from the club one night that I realized I was not alone. As we walked home, she turned to me, defeated, and said, “You know, I really have no idea why they accepted me.” A proverbial “aha!” moment ensued.

The Impostor Phenomenon describes the experience of feeling like a phony, unable to internalize success. The concept, first described by Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in 1978, proposes that people “who experience the impostor phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise… Numerous achievements, which one might expect to provide ample objective evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to affect the impostor belief.”

As it turns out, even the most accomplished among us can feel this way. In Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook shares that only after hearing a speech on the subject did she gain insight on why she often felt like a fraud: “Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are—impostors with limited skills or abilities.”

At first, Imes and Clance thought feeling like a phony was unique to women alone, but countless studies since have shown that it can be a common experience for anyone who might feel like an outsider—and profession makes little difference. Take Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor Don Cheadle, who said, “All I can see is everything I’m doing wrong that is a sham and a fraud.” Or, famed author Maya Angelou: “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out’.” Even the chief of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, remarked, “There are an awful lot of people out there who think I’m an expert. How do these people believe all this about me? I’m so much aware of all the things I don’t know.”

How does feeling like an impostor come about? Being raised in a home where one siblingis designated the “smart” one and the other “social” one could cause issues down the line. Despite gaining achievements throughout life, the “social” sibling may attribute his or her success to simply being social, not worthy or smart. Alternatively, any effort that the “smart” sibling puts into achieving a goal can result in feeling guilty for having to work to be perceived as smart. Members of minority groups are also prone to feeling like phonies, attributing their success to factors like affirmative action policies instead of their own abilities. Essentially, any scenario where you think that a factor other than your own abilities might have resulted in an achievement—like being nice, charming, or attractive—can bring about feeling like an impostor. This is because you believe the praise you receive for one ability (being smart) is wrongly attributed to another (being nice).

People who experience the Impostor Phenomenon often tend to dwell on their failures. They also experience greater stress, lower feelings of self-worth, and greater self-doubt and they’re more likely to self-handicap (avoid engaging in fearful activities in order to circumvent potential failure and maintain self-esteem). Luckily, there are ways to manage feelings of phoniness. With effort and guidance, change is possible.

1. Find a Mentor

Seek someone you admire and with whom you can be open. According to recent research, feeling like a phony is common, yet these feelings decline with age and experience. Chances are a mentor will be able to enlighten you on his or her own experiences and reassure you that you are worthy of your success. Not only will this help you realize that no one is perfect, but that you are not alone.

2. Take Time to Reflect

Find time to reflect on your own experiences. Keeping a “positive feedback” journal, in which you make a list of your accomplishments, any positive feedback you’ve been given, and the factors around your success will help you see the link between your own expertise and your success. This will help you internalize your worth.

3. Speak to a professional.

Find a good executive coach, therapist, or psychiatrist who is equipped with the tools you need to help you break out of negative thinking patterns to march on, fraud-free.


  • Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 15(3), 241.
  • Clance, P. R., & O’Toole, M. A. (1987). The imposter phenomenon: An internal barrier to empowerment and achievement. Women & Therapy, 6(3), 51-64.
  • Want, J., & Kleitman, S. (2006). Imposter phenomenon and self-handicapping: Links with parenting styles and self-confidence. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(5), 961-971.

© Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D.

Cognitive Music Affects Cooperation, Productivity

A plethora of past research indicates that music truly has an effect on us: It has been shown to help middle schoolers develop higher verbal IQ; to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety in patients with cardiovascular disease; and it can even allow us to perceive the faces of strangers as happier—provided we are listening to happy music, of course.

Now, newly published research in the Journal of Organizational Behavior titled “The sound of cooperation: Musical influences on cooperative behavior”, suggests that listening to happy music has a significant and positive effect on our willingness to be cooperative, as well.

In the first of two experiments, Cornell University researchers randomly assigned 78 participants to either Happy Music condition or Unhappy Music condition. The song selection in the Happy Music condition consisted of “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles; “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves; “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison; and, the theme song from “Happy Days”), and “Smokahontas” by Attack Attack! and “You Ain’t No Family” by Iwrestledabearonce for the Unhappy Music condition. The selection of songs were previously rated by 44 undergraduate students for their warmth or coldness, as well as other variables.

Participants were asked to indicate certain demographic characteristics, such as age and major. They were then given tokens and asked, while listening to either happy or unhappy music, what portion of their tokens they would allocate for their own private use, versus give to a group pool, which consisted of two other participants. They could give between 0-10 tokens, and the contributions would be multiplied by 1.5, before being divided between the three participants in the group pool. This type of experiment is known as the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism. The results of the first experiment found that participants in the Happy Music condition contributed nearly one third more than those in the Unhappy Music condition.

In order to ensure that the Unhappy Music condition did not create a negative bias, such that the finding was due to participants listening to unhappy music may have become more moody and selfish versus happy music having a positive effect on mood and cooperation, the researchers added a control condition, where no music was played. The results were the same as the first experiment, which allowed the researchers to conclude that happy music indeed had a positive effect on a person’s willingness to cooperate, and contribute to the public good.

While it is difficult to find ecological validity in the study’s conclusions, given its experimental and highly structured design, the researchers nevertheless conclude that this work adds to the growing emphasis put on the physical features of workplace environments, and “draw[s] attention to the importance of soundscapes in relation to employee behavior,” as well.


Kniffin, K. M., Yan, J., Wansink, B., & Schulze, W. D. (2016). The sound of cooperation: Musical influences on cooperative behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavio