Do you procrastinate when a big project looms overhead? Or, even a dreaded personal interaction that stresses you out? We procrastinate to put off the inevitable. But some of us are more likely to procrastinate than others. And research is finding that this has to do with the thoughts playing in your head. In fact, if your mind plays a loop of negative, repetitive thoughts, you may be more inclined to procrastinate. Here’s why.
Researchers are already aware that there’s a relationship between anxiety and procrastination. Research also shows a positive correlation between depression and procrastination. But why is that relevant?
Individuals who suffer with anxiety and depression tend to have many negative and repetitive thoughts. Their thoughts are either anxious about future events, or they ruminate about past events.
Either way, their head space is not a happy place.
So, in a study containing 91 undergraduate students, who self-reported their levels of anxiety, depression, worried thoughts and rumination, along with their procrastination habits. What researchers discovered is that the largest relation exists between rumination and procrastination.
In short, it’s not a worry about the future, impending event that increases procrastination. Instead, negative, repetitive thoughts about past events are more likely to make you procrastinate when it comes to future events.
Concluding the study the authors report: “These results indicate that students experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression may be more vulnerable to procrastination as a result of negative repetitive thoughts, particularly regarding past events.”