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Mindfulness and procrastination

The Strong Connection Between Mindfulness And Procrastination

Have you ever felt like you have done enough of procrastinating? I have, several times, but the thing with procrastination is that it is one habit that adamantly refuses to leave. 

I understand how distraught, angry, and irritated you feel while facing the terrible effects of procrastination. But don’t worry because there is something you can do to tackle the procrastination problem. You can practice mindfulness. In this article, I will discuss with you how mindfulness can help you to stop procrastinating. 

Problems procrastinators face: 

• Less time 

• Loss of interesting opportunities 

• Low self-esteem 

• Poor decision making

A coping mechanism

Not many of us know that procrastination is a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions. For some reason or the other, people develop negative reactions to certain tasks. 

For instance, anxiety spikes when you are dealing with challenging work. Similarly, fear shoots up when speaking to large crowds at social events. To avoid negative emotions like anxiety and fear, you might procrastinate doing your work or going to social events. Due to procrastination, people miss out a lot in life; they back off from challenging situations and new experiences. 

To tackle the procrastination problem, it is important to master self-regulation, the art of managing your emotions to achieve positive outcomes. Once you self-regulate, you stop procrastinating tasks despite the negative emotions invoked in you. Interestingly, there is clear scientific evidence to show that mindfulness helps to reduce procrastination.

How does mindfulness lower procrastination?

Emotions contain information about who we are, what we like, what we dislike, etc. Even negative emotions like anxiety and fear tell us about what we are uncomfortable with. The key is not to run away from these emotions but to listen to them. With the help of mindfulness, you can keenly listen to your emotions. As a result, procrastination reduces. 

Through the practice of mindfulness, you train your mind to remain in the present moment. As you do so, it becomes easy for you to pay attention to the sensory cues that tell you when you react to negative emotions. By fine-tuning your ability to detect negative emotions, you would be able to regulate your behaviour.

 

The link between mindfulness and procrastination

Research findings indicate that mindfulness is associated with enhanced emotional regulation. Meaning, you can direct yourself to perform goal-related behaviour without getting overwhelmed by emotions. Plus, emotional recovery is faster when you practice mindfulness.

In another study, the participants perform a brief mindfulness exercise, and they complete a task which they would usually consider delaying. Later on, they rated their intention to complete the task. This study clarifies that mindfulness, attention, and procrastination are closely linked to one other. There is a strong association between mindfulness, increased ability to sustain attention, and low procrastination. 

Not to forget, mindfulness affects physical health too. The study’s findings reveal that mindfulness could be used to tackle the health problems of procrastinators, such as stress. 

Research indicates that the higher the level of procrastination, the lower the level of mindfulness. Therefore, you can successfully use mindfulness to fend off procrastination.

Simple mindfulness tips to reduce procrastination

Here below are a few tips for you to tackle the procrastination problem.

Start with small goals

Mostly you procrastinate because you feel intimidated by how difficult or challenging a particular task is. To break the procrastination loop, it is important to start small. Be mindful about setting small, practical, and achievable goals. For instance, if you have a big project coming up. Make a plan to break down the work into small manageable parts. Always remember, take things slow and steady. 

Confront the negative emotions 

We already discussed how procrastination is an unhealthy coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions. Whatever emotions you feel, it is important to acknowledge them without judgment. If you are mindfully observing your thoughts, notice how certain thoughts invoke feelings of negativity in you. Observe these feelings and accept them with mindful awareness. 

Stop worrying 

Worry drives procrastination. For instance, if you have to attend a social event, you procrastinate until the last minute due to worry. You have thoughts in your head like what if people don’t like me? What if the event managers don’t like my work? You think about all the bad things that could happen to you. With the help of mindfulness exercises, you can train your mind to remain in the present moment. Once you do this, the worry subsides, and you procrastinate less.

Conclusion

Mindfulness helps us deal with procrastination. By practising mindfulness, it becomes easy to tackle the emotional reactions that trigger procrastinating behaviour.

Most importantly, there is an ample amount of scientific evidence that shows that there is a link between mindfulness and procrastination. Also, simple mindfulness tips such as starting with small goals, confronting negative emotions, and reducing worrying reduce procrastination.  

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