Perfectionism is often seen as a positive thing, but setting yourself unrealistic or relentlessly high standards can cause you problems and damage your mental health. You don’t have to give up your high standards altogether, but you can learn to pursue healthy standards that will not negatively impact your life.

It's always advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies – they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support. Consult your GP if you are feeling persistently low, or if your difficulties are significantly affecting your daily functioning.

The Student Wellbeing Service is available to all students free of charge and is experienced in providing confidential support to students for perfectionism.

The list of recommended resources below will give some ideas for other strategies or sources of support.

Library books

The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:

  • Addis, M E & Martell, C - Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time - 616.85270651/ADD
  • Germer, C. K - The mindful path to self-compassion: freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions - 153.83/GER
  • Shafran R, Egan S & Wade T - Overcoming Perfectionism - 616.89142/SHA

Other resources

If you would like to research more around the topic of perfectionism, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self-help resource:

Perfectionism in Perspective

From a well-regarded Australian site, these popular downloadable CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) workbooks provide clear, easy to read information along with short exercises and activities to learn and apply skills for tackling common issues - in this case, perfections, but also look for the one on procrastination. Many students have found these materials helpful.

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Other self-help resources

Take a look at our other self-help resources.