A new study reveals that perfectionists die earlier than those who aren’t perfectionists. According to the report:
While trying to be perfect can also have health benefits, the mental stress for perfectionists when things don’t go as planned and their unwillingness to ask others for help can add up to problems. . . . [Researchers] found that those with high perfectionism scores ran a 51 percent increased risk of earlier death as compared to volunteers who had low perfectionism scores. The researchers theorize that high levels of anxiety and stress–common in perfectionists–may contribute to a reduced lifespan.
While this can seem like a funny moment for slackers to feel justified in their slacking (pobody’s nerfect, right?), I find it more troubling than funny. I was reading a book the other day that also highlighted this phenomenon, in particular in reference to girls. Girls on the Edge, a new book by doctor and psychologist Leonard Sax, reveals how girls face high levels of stress these days in the effort to impress others (whether family, teachers, college-admission departments, or potential employers); the problems develop when they put these efforts before reaching a secure sense of self.
This certainly leaves us with a lot to chew on, and in particular it interests me because it comes at a time when reports are showing women simultaneously more successful in school and business than ever before–and more unhappy.