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How to Fight Procrastination

Procrastination is not a behavior unique to those with anxiety or depression; we all experience it. But what if I told you that procrastination can stem primarily from our emotions?

Professor of Psychology at Carleton University, Tom Pychyl claims that "procrastination is an emotion-focused coping strategy. Think back to the last task you procrastinated. Was it a difficult assignment that made you anxious? A phone call that made you fume at the mouth just thinking about? Then your powerful brain was most likely using a coping mechanism to prevent you from engaging in a task that was undesirable or simply made you uncomfortable.

The limbic system is the part of the brain that deals with our emotional and behavioral responses. One part of that system, the amygdala, can sometimes take control and override certain functions within the brain. The amygdala, primarily responsible for impulse control, planning, and emotion, engages in something known as 'amygdala hijack' in which your brain engages in a 'flight' response system to help protect you from the daunting task you're supposed to do. Individuals with larger amygdalas tend to suffer more from this hijacking, as the organ is much more powerful than the average human being. All of this is done with the intention to shield you from these negative emotions your brain wishes to prevent you from experiencing.

Now that you know how procrastination works, how do you control it?

The article first emphasizes the need to calm yourself down. In previous articles, we've talked about how finding a helpful breathing/relaxing technique can allow you to destress and clear your head to think more clearly. Acknowledge your emotions. Be honest with yourself about why you may be feeling this way. Once you do this, the next step is to take ACTION. With your limbic system a little more under control, you can thoughtfully begin to tackle your task, one small step at a time. Break the problem down into small, small tasks to make it less daunting and to not trigger the same kind of response.


This simple formula may just help you improve some of your procrastination and help you better understand your own habits and how to build healthier ones.

To learn more, read the article here:

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