Procrastination is something that is done by everyone at one point or another. Whether it’s procrastinating a homework assignment or scheduling an appointment, procrastination has a huge effect on our lives. It can stem from a variety of factors such as avoiding a task that you don’t want to do, being afraid of failure, not knowing how to do it or overestimating the amount of time you have to complete the assignment. All of the procrastinating, no matter how major or not that we do surprisingly has a huge link to our mental health.
Along with procrastination, something that may or may not affect some of us is depression. Procrastination can be linked to depression in that people who are depressed are more likely to put tasks off. Just because you procrastinate, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are depressed though. If you’re depressed you’re more likely to put off the simplest of tasks even if it’s right in front of you. Just like with anxiety, putting off a task over and over again can make the task impossible to complete.
Anxiety is one of the leading causes of chronic procrastination and is something that is experienced by approximately 25% of teens. Anxiety can lead to procrastination of a task if you have doubts or worries about the task at hand. If the task is put off again and again the anxiety worsens until it becomes paralyzing and the responsibility becomes impossible to accomplish. The continuous putting off of tasks can lead to intense stress.
Stress, just like anxiety is a downward spiral. “This is where you feel stressed, put things off, and then feel stressed thinking about what you’ve left undone. As you do this, you leave more things undone and feel overwhelmed.” (Knaus of Psychology Today). If you procrastinate you could be doing resistance procrastination where you delay a task until the last minute but still get it done. There is also a second type which is refusal procrastination where you put a permanent hold on tasks and then never complete them. I personally am guilty of resistance procrastination rather than refusal. In school, refusal and resistance types of procrastination are what really seem to affect whether or not we even complete our school work.
Low self esteem is also something experienced greatly in schools. Low self esteem is known to be caused by a variety of factors such as trauma, anxiety, poor academic performance and depression. Interestingly enough, procrastination can also be caused by low levels of self esteem. “ Sometimes the procrastinator thinks he or she won’t do a good job. This is really a self-esteem issue—as if the person is not equipped to carry out the task. “ ( as stated by psychiatrist Chris Heath). That makes procrastination more of a defense to what we think we can’t do. Anxiety, depression, stress, and low self esteem are just a few mental health related issues that can be linked to procrastination. Remember that just because you procrastinate, it doesn’t mean you have a mental health issue. Make sure to take into account the widespread possibilities of why you or someone else might procrastinate before you brush it off as just being lazy.
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