Procrastination, a Sign of Fear, not Laziness

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procrastination, image of delaying picture.

Most of the time, all known experts and motivational speakers have emphasized that we must get rid of the habit of procrastination, no matter what.

As if we will not conquer this habit, we’ll waste away our life’s potential.

So what do we do?

Every day, we try to push ourselves to get things done. In any case, when we procrastinate, we beat ourselves up and accuse our lethargy.

But what if there were some other reasons behind why we procrastinate, other than a lack of willpower or inspiration.

This is what recent studies have to show us

Fight or Flight?

In 2018, a group of psychiatrists led a groundbreaking experiment to study the differences between the minds of individuals who battle with procrastination and the ones who don’t.

To do this, they selected 264 people to finish specific assignments and thereafter conducted fMRI brain scans on every individual.

The results were intriguing

Amygdala Hijack- The Procrastination Gland

The scientists found a higher volume of the amygdala—an almond-shape set of neurons that process our feelings—in the cerebrums of the participants who procrastinated than the ones who were more active. [1]

In addition, they found that the procrastinators had more fragile connections between the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)— another area of the mind liable for discretion and emotional control.

These findings gave the long-awaited scientific interpretation for what analysts had alluded to as an “amygdala hijack.” [2]

In layman’s terms, during high tense situations that trigger recollections of negative experiences, the amygdala triggers a fight or flight mindset.

It seizes control over our ability to think about the long term consequences of our actions. And consequently, leads us to delay the significant task before us because it’s perceived as a threat to our safety.

As a reward for getting away from the danger by procrastinating, we’re unexpectedly feel eased and good.

But this does not last for long periods

At some point or another, the negative feelings creep back up once more—weariness, self-question, uneasiness, stress, etc—and to adapt to this, we keep on procrastinating until the very last minute.

This endless loop of staying away from negative feelings and remunerating ourselves by procrastinating is the thing that diverts procrastination from one-time thing into a compulsion.

To us, procrastination is just an issue of sluggishness.

To our brains, though, it’s an incomprehensibly matter of life and death.

Procrastination is the Symptom. Fear is the Root Cause.

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”

— Mary Schmich

By definition, laziness is the reluctance to work or utilize energy. However, most of us are eager to focus and get things done.

Underneath the surface, it’s fear—not the absence of inspiration or willpower—that keeps us from making a move towards our goals.

Procrastination is basically one of many adjusting methods to abstain from confronting these feelings of fear.

One would imagine that after writing and sharing articles consistently, for as far back as over two years, I’d have subdued my feelings of fear and self-doubt.

Not really.

Like you, I also dread failure and frequently feel like I will never be a writer.

Every day I plunk down to write, I battle with perfectionism and second guess each word I type.

I fight with impostor syndrome, along with the fear that readers will get bore of my articles and quit reading my work.

The feelings of fear haven’t left. However, I’ve figured out how to hit the dance floor with my feelings of fear—rather than striving to get rid of them—and write in any case.

Similarly on your side, what are the fears holding you from making a move towards your goals?

Imagine the most pessimistic scenario situations: The difficult scenes of disappointment and frustration.

Make peace with them.

Just breathe, feel the fear and make a move in any case.

If you want to know more about how you can use procrastination for your benefits read Rory Vaden’s Procrastinate On Purpose

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