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The Connection Between Anxiety and Procrastination

Is procrastination holding you back? Discover some ways to break the cycle.

Procrastination is a behavior many are familiar with. Whether it's postponing that doctor's appointment, delaying a challenging project, or waiting until the last minute to complete an assignment, everyone's been there. But have you ever stopped to wonder why humans procrastinate? In this article, we delve deep into understanding the processes behind such behaviors. Let’s go over some connections between anxiety and procrastination, and how understanding this link can pave the way for to prevent the pattern for good.

1. What is Procrastination?

Procrastination isn’t just about laziness or poor time management. It's a complex behavioral response that involves postponing tasks we perceive as daunting or unpleasant. While avoiding a task provides temporary relief, it often leads to increased stress as deadlines loom closer.

2. Anxiety: A Key Player in the Procrastination Puzzle

Anxiety can be understood as a feeling of unease, worry, or fear. While it’s natural to experience anxiety occasionally, chronic anxiety can interfere with our day-to-day tasks and decision-making.

Here's how anxiety ties into procrastination:

Anticipation of Failure: For many, the fear of not meeting expectations or facing criticism leads to avoidance. They'd rather not attempt a task than risk failing.

Perfectionism: Some individuals set extremely high standards for themselves. The anxiety stemming from the need to be perfect can make starting a task feel daunting.

Overwhelm: When faced with a multitude of tasks or a particularly challenging one, the uncertainty of where to start can amplify feelings of anxiety.

3. The Vicious Cycle

Anxiety can lead to procrastination, but here’s the catch - procrastination can also intensify anxiety. As tasks are delayed, the pressure of impending deadlines and the accumulating workload can increase stress levels, leading to a recurring loop of anxiety and avoidance.

4. Breaking the Cycle

Understanding the link between anxiety and procrastination is the first step. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Prioritize and Break Down Tasks: Instead of viewing a project as one massive challenge, break it down into manageable bits. This makes starting less intimidating.

  • Set Realistic Standards: While aiming high is commendable, setting achievable goals can reduce the fear of failure.

  • Seek Support: Discussing your anxieties with someone may offer valuable insights and perspective.

Interested in exploring therapy for managing anxiety and/or procrastination? Reach out to PSYCHē for more information, learn more about our expert therapists, or book a consultation online today.

We also offer multiple DBT Skills Groups as well as an RO-DBT Skills Group. Groups are like a class, not therapy. Click the link to enroll in a group today.


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