[Ep#374] Why being a perfectionist is bad for your health

Why being a perfectionist is bad for your health 

My guest today says, “When your to-do list is a mile long EVERYTHING feels urgent. But that’s a lie your brain tells you to keep you in the comfort zone of ‘busy’.” 

Joining me today is Dr. Nicole Byers.

Dr. Nicole Byers is a neuro-psychologist, speaker, host of The Bold Life podcast, and CEO of Rocky Mountain Neurosciences in Calgary, Canada.  

She helps individuals overcome the mental habits that are keeping them stuck in self-doubt, overwhelm, and stress so they can have the confidence to achieve success. 

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: 

  1. Reasons why perfectionism is bad for you
  2. The 3 signs your body is overworked and headed for burnout
  3. A simple daily habit that will help you ditch your inner perfectionist and reach your goals without burning out


WATCH NOW (and check out the Resources and Episode Highlights below):

Episode Highlights

[2:14] Dr. Nicole Byers' Journey

  • Dr Byer's spent a lot of years studying neuroscience and neuropsychology. She joined a hospital's neuroscience team after graduating.
  • She discovered that the majority of her patients were high achievers, particularly women who were experiencing burnout.
  • She developed an interest in learning more about how some of the mental habits we develop throughout our lives—habits that can make us highly successful—can also work against us. And how habits may not only prevent us from achieving our goals, but they may also be detrimental to our bodies and minds.

[5:02] Signs of Burnout

  • Memory errors. Feeling extremely forgetful, and the brain is becoming agitated or overwhelmed.
  • Being exhausted all the time. You're tired before you even start your day or don't have enough energy to get through the day
  • Tension in the muscles. Shoulders are constantly creeping up to your ears, and you're getting a lot more headaches.

[7:07] Why Perfectionism is Bad For Your Health

  • Every action we take, every issue we resolve, and every choice we make uses up some of the limited resources that our brain has available to it each day.
  • When we have a tendency to hold ourselves to extremely high standards, when we declare that only work that is a plus is ever acceptable. When we begin to focus so intently on some aspects that we may be spending too much time on them. All of these activities use up brain resources which can drain our energy and can also drain our motivation.
  • Additionally, pushing our limits too fat may heighten the stress reaction in our bodies and brains, which further depletes resources and may have a negative impact on our health.

[12:46] What is Burnout

  • For each person, burnout might be different. When we are under pressure or stress, our bodies and brains frequently exhibit these symptoms in very unique ways.
  • Our brains can deal with short-term stress but goes into a long-term stress response, which keeps our brain and our body revved up all the time which ends up draining even more brain resources.

[17:49] How Taking a Break Can Help

  • Our brains need break for the cells to recharge.
  • When we concentrate too hard on one subject, the neurons that surround that piece of information become overloaded. So they become inhibited, which means they can't fire or activate as easily.
  • When we try to concentrate too hard on one thing for too long, we effectively burn out that part of our brain.
  • Our brain can focus on a task for 60 to 90 minutes. As we approach the 90-minute mark, our attention begins to dwindle and we become more easily distracted. That is an excellent time to take a break.

10 Powerful Quotes

[3:54] “Some of the mental habits that we learn throughout our lives that can help us be very successful can also work against us, not only in terms of reaching our goals, but can even be bad for our bodies and our brains.”

[5:40] “When we are in very busy careers, when we have really high goals – these things are all amazing until we push beyond what our brains and bodies are really able to do. And that can show up in signs like memory problems and fatigue, even things like muscle tension.”

[10:36] “Our brains actually use 20% of the energy in our body, which is a lot for how tiny they are compared to the rest of our body. So when our brains are using a lot of that energy and that activity, we're gonna experience that fatigue.”

[13:28] “We can talk about these common signs, but really recognizing what are those early signs in yourself? When does your body start to tell you, ‘Okay, maybe we need to reprioritize or refocus some of that energy.'”

[14:50] “There are tasks that our brains do really easily. Anything that is more routine, that is almost second nature for us, doesn't take a lot of those resources. Problem solving challenges, creative thinking , are really demanding on our brain. That's a great skill and a great asset to have until we start to push ourselves a little bit too far.”

[15:18] “Our brains are really good at dealing with short-term stress. They are not so good at dealing with long-term stress.”

[18:22] “Our brains need that space to be creative, to make those new connections, to be able to problem solve in new ways. Because if we're trying to focus too hard on one thing for too long, we essentially burn out that part of our brain.”

[22:13] “When we challenge our brain, whether that's things like regular reading, for example, is a great way to keep your brain active, learning new hobbies, learning a new language, learning a new skill that's a bit outside of your wheelhouse as well. But the but here is that our brains also don't like to do stuff that isn't fun. And what that means is that if we're doing something that is way, way, way outside what we're comfortable with, our brains can put up a lot of resistance.”

[24:42] Instead of doing a little bit of podcasting here, a little bit of podcasting there, a little bit of writing here, a little bit there, we do it all at once, which is much more efficient because our brain can get into that routine.”

[32:40] “So one simple habit that I would encourage everyone to start is to spend five to 10 minutes at the end of every workday and plan your next day in advance. Really plan it out. Sit down with your schedule. Put in all those meetings. Put in all your goals for the day.”


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