If you’re the kind of person who puts off daily activities like cleaning the house, engaging with friends, or going to the doctor, you should know it could have a lasting impact on your health.
Research suggests that chronic procrastinators may be more likely to experience health problems down the line than people who have more initiative.
We’re not talking about the kind of people who have the initiative to get out and change the world or are extreme go-getters, either; just those who actively take on life’s daily challenges and necessities.
Everyone procrastinates to a degree, but not everybody is a “procrastinator.” It’s not uncommon, for example, to not jump up to do your taxes or shovel the driveway. But when procrastination is chronic and becomes a way of life – showing up at home, work, or in relationships regularly – it is a problem.
Some experts suggest as many as 20 percent of adults qualify as procrastinators, and there could be health consequences in the long run.
Chronic procrastination is linked to a higher risk of depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease. New research showed that college students who procrastinate were more likely to report some of these symptoms, as well as more body aches and poor sleep than those that addressed challenges as they came.
One question is whether or not procrastination causes the issues or if it is the persistent stress and worry that comes along with it.
Procrastination, thankfully, is a learned behavior and not something people are born with. But changing, however, is not easy. After all, a procrastinator will find a way to put things off.
Changing thinking from a “me” perspective to a “we” perspective might help. A type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy has also been an effective treatment.
If you think you’re a procrastinator and have the wherewithal to make a change without seeing professional help, here are some things to try:
Whatever you have to do, just start it. Once the ball is rolling, it’s easier to keep going.
Break your tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks.
Look at ways to become more organized.
Find ways to boost motivation for getting things done.
Realize that you are not lazy.
Taking more initiative may help reduce stress and the risk of a host of physical and mental health conditions.