Procrastinating can be a coping mechanism for anxiety

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Procrastinating can be a coping mechanism for anxiety. Distracting yourself with something immediately relieves the stress and anxiety associated with some task for some individuals that suffer from anxiety. The task doesn’t have to be difficult or even unpleasant in itself, just being associated with a source of anxiety is enough. This is of course a highly problematic coping mechanism, but when the anxiety reaches a critical point, the sweet relief of a distraction can become like a shot of heroin. ‘Just one more’.It has nothing to do with laziness or that these individuals can’t be bothered. If you can’t be bothered doing something then you decide that it’s not worth doing and that’s the end of it. Many people with anxiety disorders procrastinate on things that they want to do (though ‘want’ may include simply avoiding undesirable consequences). It also has little to do with being unable to identify with one’s future self. 

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4 thoughts on “Procrastinating can be a coping mechanism for anxiety

  1. Yes, I procrastinate because of my perfectionist tendencies. I’m so afraid of producing something that isn’t great that I just don’t produce anything at all. And then I get MORE anxious and freeze more! A very vicious cycle.

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  2. I procrastinate due to a fear of failure but the longer I procrastinate the more I have anxiety which is counterproductive. The most ridiculous part is that I know by procrastinating I am making my anxiety worse. I don’t procrastinate now but I did in grad school; it cost me a Half a letter grade for all the late papers I turned in.

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    • I used to procrastinate as well due to anxiety, but like you said it makes the anxiety much worse in the long run. I refuse to procrastinate anymore…well occasionally I slip lol. I will say that because I am so much better about it now that my life has less anxiety in it. Maybe we should do a post together helping others get out of the “procrastination cycle” with advice, tips, etc…

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