Can you put off procrastinating?

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Photo of woman in front of a laptop procrastinating over what she has to do

Procrastination … putting something off until another day … maybe tomorrow … maybe next week … maybe if you don’t think about it, it will disappear! Procrastination over something you don’t really want to do – but know you have to – is a great way to add to your anxiety.

One of my clients had occasional heart palpitations. She needed to see the doctor to get it checked out, but she was scared to go. She was scared to go in case she found out something was wrong. But it kept playing on her mind – she knew she had to go at sometime, and kept putting it off. The longer she put it off, the more worried she got about it. But the more she worried about it, the more anxious she got about going for a checkup. When I helped her get sufficient control over the anxiety, she made the appointment and came back relieved to find there was nothing wrong. “All that worry for nothing!” She told me.

Any stresses and negative thoughts we have – whether big or small – all have to be processed by the brain. Our unconscious mind (the bit of the brain that carries on doing its job without us being aware of what it is doing) goes through all the memories of the day each night when we are asleep. It goes through the stresses we have had, sorting them out, working out if we need to keep any of them, and taking some of the emotion out.

The stresses are sorted out during our REM sleep – that is, when we dream. But we only have so much time to dream, and any stresses that are not sorted out in that time are left around to process another time. The more stress that is hanging around – the more likely it is that that primitive part of our brain will create anxiety.

And when we put something off – when we procrastinate – that unconscious part of our mind also keeps reminding us that whatever we have put off needs doing, because the unconscious part of our mind knows it is important. When we are reminded about something that needs doing, it creates stress. While we procrastinate, the stress keeps coming back again and again until we eventually do whatever it is that we are putting off.

The more stress we are under, the more likely we are to suffer from anxiety and/or depression – and that is why procrastination is a great way to add to your anxiety.

So if you are the sort of person who puts of going to the doctor (just in case they find something nasty), puts off checking through your finances (just in case you don’t have enough money to last to the end of the month), puts off applying for that job (in case you don’t get it), or puts off sorting out their tax returns – then you are going to adding to your stress and increase your anxiety.

So just get it done!

If you cannot manage your anxiety on your own, you may like to consider getting help. In my clinic in Fleet, I help people with anxiety. I use hypnotherapy to help them get back in control of their lives and get rid of the unwanted symptoms.

Photo by on Unsplash

Tim Maude

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