Perfectionistic demands in relaxation and mindfulness

31 Jul 2020

The real Jim Carrey

Relaxation methods are more difficult to practice for perfectionistic or competitive people because they are usually trying too hard to relax. Continuing putting perfectionistic demands on relaxation for a long time can lead to an increase of mood problems. I can say - based on my own experience - that failing to cope with relaxation demands in an adjusted manner can lead to an increase of anxiety in the long run.

Luckily I found a way to resolve this problem. In essence, for perfect people like me to enjoy their relaxation, using different relaxation and meditation methods and occasionally learning a new one is an important practice.

It is therefore important to resist the temptation to always practice the same relaxation method that once was “most-effective”. After all, if you keep exercising the same method, eventually your competitive mind will unconsciously try to reach the wonderful state that you once experienced. Also, for people who are on sick leave, it is important to limit the number of daily relaxation sessions to at most two. In short, it is important to engage in a healthy practice of using different relaxation and meditation methods in combination with exercise and distractive leisure and just to allow your body to relax by itself.

Try to incorporate this practice of variation spontaneously into your daily life, without making it a routine. After discovering the importance of variation in relaxation methods, I made the mistake of pursuing an optimal schedule for alternating different relaxation methods. In the end, this behaviour again trained my brain in demand thinking that disturbs the relaxation. Instead, I now just store a long list of audios on my smartphone and I select a random audio.

For solitary activities without any assistance of audios, I often do the opposite of what my initial idea is. I make a conscious choice not to select the relaxation technique that my brain asks me to do in the present moment. Instead, I select a relaxation technique that is the opposite of what it is asking for. For example, when I have a strong desire to employ a visualization technique to enjoy the wonderful feelings of the day before, I can decide to employ progressive muscle relaxation to relax the body.

It does help to ensure you employ relaxation methods that trigger different modalities. For example, visualization triggers emotions, cognitive self-talk triggers beliefs, neti-neti meditation triggers the enactment of the self. In this regard, being mindful about disturbing thoughts is also a valuable tool for dodging any type of demand thinking. Mindfulness allowed me to experience that my body is able to relax by itself, and therefore it increased my confidence to relax. Mindfulness also increased my self-esteem in general because it positively changed how I think about myself. Of course, sometimes my perfectionistic personality triggers demands on mindfulness. When that happens, it’s time for distraction and watch a Jim Carrey movie.

You may wonder now what the title of this blog article has to do with the subtitle. Well here it is:


A Moodscope member.

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Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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