PERFECTION Dilemma

Unattainable Expectations on women

What does perfection dilemma mean?

Every woman participates in high paced multi-tasking madness on a daily basis and usually does it well, but with dire health consequences.

Women wear multiple identities, engage in multiple roles and are influenced and judged by standards of gender, cultural, social and political norms. This causes stress.

Women attempt to be the perfectly dressed, the impeccably groomed business person, the most supportive daughter, greatest girlfriend, the most romantic, beautiful wife, and nurturing mother. Well read, well studied, intelligent, well-spoken and at the top of the game. Above all that, women are pressured to – in many cases – manage the household, do most of the child rearing, care for the sick and the elderly family members. This adds stress.

From early on in childhood, girls are taught the value of “perfect”. Today, female children are influenced with expletive sexual marketing valuing beauty, with unattainable body images that can later affect self-esteem and engender sexual shame. Female children are taught to denounce assertiveness which helps to promote their own discrimination, male dominance in the workplace and at home. This causes stress.

Why is this all relevant? Because stress is a leading cause for obesity. Because obese women experience fewer opportunities, lower financial rewards and fewer leadership prospects, and this can create more stress. The problem with “perfect” is that it generates a whole host of health problems.

How can we overcome? We need some psychological insight.  Humans have 3 brains: The Reptilian Brain, the reactive instinctual brain; the Limbic Brain rests on top of the Reptilian brain and is our emotional pattern brain; the Neo-Cortex is our rational brain and does not fully mature until the age of 7-8 years. This means our early development years are based on survival (reactive) and emotional patterns. These patterns become deeply ingrained prior to our ability to rationalize. Think about that! And how does this help?

One major health problem for professional women is; due to stress levels the flight fight response engages, this response cascades hormones and chemicals (Adrenalin) through the system, causing increased heart and breathing rates, increased blood pressure. Chronic stress is the front-runner to coronary Heart disease and Heart attacks.

Learning how to dis-engage the Reptilian Brain; by slowing thinking processes down; allows time for the Neo-Cortex to engage, for us to breath, lower our heart rates and think rationally rather than reacting.

The brain has the capacity to think 600% faster than most people talk. The brain is going a mile-a-minute in the background while someone else is talking, running all types of “what-if” scenarios, or thinking about how long till you pick up the kids, or what am I making for dinner instead of actively listening to what is being said.

Stopping the chatter and learning “active listening” skills allow us to choose the brain we want to use most often: the Neo-Cortex so we can relax breath and respond in a thoughtful forward thinking way. Stop reacting!

When we react rather than listen before responding, we have more chance of making assumptions (emotional patterns of the Limbic Brain) or making judgmental opinions, rather than slow open minded rational thought.

Quick responses are more typically reactive or emotionally biased, and don’t fare well in a business context. This adds stress.

So step back, listen fully and respond with an inquisitive mind.

By inquiring, you train your brain to actively listen to what is being said. By clarifying that you truly understood what is being said, you can engage the brain in a different pattern of thinking, which creates new neural pathways.

“I’m curious; are you saying…..”

This single act of will power will allow your mind to remain calm and all your internal mechanisms will respond in the same manner. When using rational thought processes, we are less likely to engage an emotional response.

Attaching an emotional response to an event can be an assumption of the Limbic Brain; our 2nd brain; which processes emotional patterns often deeply ingrained before the age of 8.

And many assumptions are wrong, 8 year old’ emotional patterns, brought forward by the limbic brain, recognizing a beginning of a pattern that can add allot of stress to anyone’s life and stress is not healthy for anyone.

Here are some more stress factors: Why they are important to recognize and how we can overcome.

#2. In democratic countries where free thought and speech are acceptable, social and cultural evolution are making progress on the “pelvic floor” to “glass ceiling.”

My personal coin, I define the “Pelvic Floor” to “Glass Ceiling” reference as the identity of female sexuality and the corporate promotional restrictions experienced by many professional women.

Where sexual behavior and harassment is front and center in daily politics, gender in-equality is being brought forward with “protect pregnancy” movements that will guard professional women’s rights within the workforce. As females are the reproductive forces of humankind, greater pressure for gender equality then becomes part of corporate responsibility.

Corporate concerns of females leaving the workforce to have children help to fuel the inequality of pay and create further stress of job insecurity. Repressive demands with too little control make it even more important in a tight job market, to stay mentally, emotionally and physically fit.

The demands for performance are unavoidable, but your healthy response to these demands is a choice. A rational rather than emotional or reactive response serves you well.

On the surface, the appearance of internal imbalance may be masked, but within the body and mind, the insidious dangers of the unspoken environment are deadly. Anxiety, loss of sleep, depression, obesity…..

How can you start making a difference today? There are classes for meditation, Yoga, keeping a journal; spend an afternoon at the local spa; go running, spinning, sailing; take an annual vacation. It helps, but is it enough if old patterns remain?

Immerse yourself in evolutionary psychology and retrain your brain responses. Learn a different way of thinking. Empower yourself, it’s your life!

Join a group of like-minded women, bond. Build relationships. Discover yourself, honor yourself, heal yourself, empower yourself!

Learn to balance a hectic challenging stressful life. With professional women suffering from high cholesterol levels, obesity, sleeplessness, anxiety and low energy levels and depression, taking care of you, is a “must have” rather than “wish list” responsibility.

Don’t let your health get out of control. Your health is the most important thing you have. Get the support you need.

Why? Fact is, when women look after their needs, their families are healthier, happier and they do better! You benefit, they benefit.

How? Learn a different language, using your brain of choice.

“Take full control of life and enjoy a healthier happier future.”

How?

#1. Learn your Psychology. Move from Survival mode to practicing Evolutionary Psychology; as it can offer you tools instantly.

For example: When we exist in the “fight or Flight mode” we exist in our primordial brain, the Reptilian Brain. There is no cognitive action at this level of thinking. The response is instinctual.

For example: If you were being chased by a Lion, I would say your best course of action, would be to run and run very fast. Your heart would race, you would be sweating, panting, your legs would have the majority of your oxygen and you would run. You would expend a great amount of energy in a small amount of time, in order to make your flight to safety. You would continue to remain hyper vigilant, have a hard time sleeping; thoughts would be dominated with your ability to survive. You would only be able to be present moment; you would not be able to plan your course of action.

If however, you experience this every night almost every week, you are feeling the stressful effects of your life. We need to get you out of Reptilian Brain functioning and reprogram your response with Logic and appropriate action. Reduce the influence of the Reptilian brain, by-pass the emotional (2nd) limbic brain and make new neuro pathways for your logical Neo-cortex brain!

At our course, Evolutionary Psychology is one support tool used to understand the social, cultural or political values we are embedded in and learn where we are in our personal psychology, how we can move beyond and build a workable or exit strategy.

Learn survivor elements of evolutionary Psychology, create personalized tools to re-program your Reptilian and Limbic Brain’s response to events. Be able to choose when to attach an emotion to an event. Become assertive and implement strategies that are practical and sustainable.

Take an empowerment weekend. You will discover your core values, why they are your passion, how core values keep us on track, reduce stress and contribute to a healthy home and why all of this contributes to a healthy body weight and image.

Stay well,

Adele Anderson

Xo