Procrastination… Why it is the hidden anxiety.


The feelings of anxiety are generally described as being overwhelmed, worried or experiencing panic attacks and if you have ever had a work deadline, a school assignment or an important event to organise, you have more than likely also tried to avoid these feelings of anxiety by ignoring that looming task and instead you have turned your attention towards smaller chores such as cleaning the car, vacuuming the house, or by just burning through your latest Netflix series on the couch. With the introduction of smartphones and the internet now glued to our fingertips, our ability to procrastinate has multiplied with the help of many attention seeking channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the news and the list goes on…

If any of the above resonates with you, you may be surprised to know that procrastination is a hidden form of anxiety that is set in motion through the pathway of avoidance. Although it can seem harmless, the compound build up of avoiding tasks may be affecting your health and can be experienced as the following symptoms:

  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Irritability or difficulty concentrating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness

For those who have children, this is so readily seen when you simply ask them to go brush their teeth, or clean up there mess, kids can be known to avoid even the smallest tasks. However have you notices that when you offer to brush your teeth with them or help them to clean up a mess, the child’s avoidance behaviour and their anxieties will vanish.

We use this same simple philosophy in our clinic, we share with our clients the power to be relaxed, feel calm and we give them the opportunities to feel liberated, just like the above example of a parent brushing their teeth with their child to remove avoidance behaviours, this philosophy can also be used in our clinic, which we so readily call “Contact” (the ability to communicate with someone, typically in order to give or receive information).

So what do you do if you know you procrastinate or have avoidance behaviour? 

The first step is to recognise and acknowledge that you procrastinate.

The second step is to try and catch yourself procrastinating and become better trained at realising when you are avoiding large tasks.

The third step, which is probably the hardest is to stop yourself procrastinating. The moment you catch your thoughts of procrastination an uncomfortable feeling or weakness may be felt. To overcome these feelings of anxiety I recommend that you immediately begin to focus on your breathing and mindfulness. Simply breathe in with the words “I am breathing in” and breathe out with the words “I am breathing out”. Once repeated a number of times this technique will help you to dissolve the uncomfortable feelings associated with procrastination anxiety. As the feelings subside, continue to breathe in with the new words “I begin to feel that I am alive” and breathe out the positive reinforcement “I am alive”, by doing this your are reminding yourself what a wonderful gift we have in life and that we are always able to bring ourselves back to a place of mindfulness.

I invite you to play with this technique, so the next time you notice your procrastination or avoidance behaviours simply try my three simple steps and start creating new healthy habits to living well.

Article by Life Synergy practitioner, Jonathan Yang. 

To book an appointment with the acupuncture, nutrition and wellness team at Life Synergy, Gold Coast ph: 07) 55 359 330