Procrastination is the cause of many health and career problems, but regulating your emotions can improve your mental health and well-being, according to The Epoch Times.
Researchers have found that the parts of the brain connected to threat detection and emotion regulation are different for each individual. By avoiding an unpleasant task — for example, breaking up with a partner — we are most likely also avoiding the negative emotions associated with it.
“Reminding yourself why the task is important and valuable to you can increase your positive feelings toward it,” said Dean Drobot from Shutterstock.
Avoidance provides temporary mood relief but conditions us to procrastinate, especially those tasks that make us feel averse. If a task gives you anxiety or threatens your well-being, you are more likely to put it off for a later day or time.
Procrastination does not only take away valuable time, but it also carries other problems, reported the author, Fuschia Sirois, a professor in social and health psychology at Durham University in the UK.
In a U.S. study in which 22,000 surveyed employees reported they procrastinated, the research found that they received lower incomes and less job stability, reported the article, originally published in The Conversation.
Procrastination can also result in low academic performance, poor mental health, high levels of depression and anxiety, headaches, flu and colds, digestive issues, high levels of stress, and poor sleep quality.
Emotionally loaded or difficult tasks are great candidates for procrastination. In the end, procrastination is not an effective way to manage emotions, the article stated.
When individuals engage in self-critical ruminations, it increases their negative mood and reinforces their tendency to procrastinate.
A study of 3,000 German students showed that procrastination had negative effects on their performance, led to academic misconduct like cheating and plagiarism, and fraudulent excuses to get deadline extensions.
A study of 700 individuals who were prone to procrastination found 63% were at higher risk of poor heart health.
Individuals who regularly procrastinate are less likely to practice healthy behaviors, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet.
Not procrastinating, however, does not solve all of a person’s problems. What is needed is a more effective way to regularly manage emotions to improve well-being.
Recommended steps include:
■ Managing your environment,
■ Change your view toward
■ Quarantine distractions, and
■ Arrange your tasks to avoid anxiety
When you do procrastinate, the article says, show yourself compassion and forgiveness, which can help break the procrastination cycle. When you feel bad, recognize and admit the feeling without judging yourself.
This can take the edge off the feeling of negativity about a situation, an event, or yourself.
“Guilt and shame often linger when people try to distract themselves with more pleasant activities,” said Amenic181 on Shutter-Stock.