I learnt something this week which I had to share with you – it’s been a game changer in my mind and seriously, this means we’re not lazy – whoop whoop!!!
Sooooooo I have always berated myself over procrastinating. That pile of papers that needs sorting, the washing that needs putting away, the car that needs fixing, the dog that needs worming (these are genuinely mine atm).
You know what you need to do but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
I’ve always thought it was me just being lazy and running out of energy to be bothered.
But it turns out that procrastination is a (drumroll please) stress coping mechanism…..yes you heard it here first. Or maybe not. But it’s new to me anyway ????.
|And there’s strong scientific evidence to back it up.|
When we’re feeling stressed about something, our bodies naturally crave release from this feeling.
So when we feel overwhelmed, we automatically put the brakes on so our bodies and minds can relax. This gives us time without that uncomfortable stressed out feeling.
This is to be celebrated.
Because if you’re procrastinating, it’s a great big red flag that you’re feeling stressed about something. And that warning sign is invaluable as it gives you a heads up that you need to change something. That something isn’t working out or working right and you need to release that stress long term (not just through a short term procrastination fest).
The downside? Those to-dos still need to be to-done. So although this initially releases stress, the ever increasing list of to-dos leads to further stress. Which sucks.
Now, I’ve read a lot of stuff that’s said do the hard stuff first. Things like eat that frog.
And whilst I get the reasoning behind this, when you’re stressed, the big stuff just seems sooooo BIG. It’s too much to even contemplate.
One of the biggest things I took away from CBT was to start with the easiest thing first. Let yourself off the hook. This was amazing because it was like being given permission to not have to face up to the big things first. To build up to them.
Changing what you do (behaviour) means that your emotions follow. And the act of doing builds momentum and that my friend, makes the big stuff less big.
If you change what you do, you also change how you see yourself. When you start to take action, even the small stuff, you start to believe that you are an action taker. Which makes you more likely to take action again in the future.
It’s a positive cycle.
Of course the flip side is if you don’t take action, you think you’re not an action taker and therefore you’re much less likely to take action.
So if you’re procrastinating right now, know that it’s your body trying to relieve a little bit of stress. And look to where that stress is coming from in your life and how you can take the small easy steps to start releasing it.
You’ll become so aware of when you are procrastinating, it’ll become your early warning signal to stress.
And you can let yourself off the hook because you’re not lazy. Well, this made me celebrate anyway.
So what are you procrastinating on at the moment? Can you trace this back to a stressful situation? Can you see where this time of inaction is helping your body to relax just a little.
Let me know if this resonated with you. It certainly did with me!
With love ???? and gratitude ????