What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of putting something off that you really should be doing. Procrastination is very common! Most people procrastinate occasionally. We’ve all postponed tasks until the last minute, like writing an assignment the night before it is due. Procrastination can be annoying, but is usually fairly harmless. However, chronic procrastination can become a source of constant distress for some people. Procrastinating habitually can be a source of anxiety, low mood, stress, tension, guilt, and/ or shame.
Why do we procrastinate?
Often we procrastinate tasks that we expect to find boring or difficult. Doing more interesting activities (e.g., watching TV, scrolling through Instagram, online shopping) can provide a temporary relief from that discomfort we expect. However, the key word there is temporary. Often our feelings of guilt will continue to build, despite attempting to distract ourselves. Procrastination can occur because of several reasons, such as:
Is procrastination treatable?
Yes! While procrastination can often feel chronic and simply a part of your personality, the research shows it is treatable. In fact, people can change their behaviours and these changes can be maintained over long periods of time. Treatment for procrastination basically aims to bridge the gap between your intent to complete a task and taking action to complete the task.
How is procrastination best treated?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, has shown to be the most effective treatment for procrastination. This therapy has three key approaches for procrastination.
1. Develop your self-regulation skills.: This involves developing work habits that prevent procrastination. Some examples of strategies are:
2. Build your sense of self-efficacy: Remember, self-efficacy in the sense that you feel you can achieve the task.
3. Organise social support: One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to tell people you are working towards this goal! This helps you feel that you are not alone, and that there are lots of people who believe in you.
Is this something my Psychologist could help me with?
Definitely! Procrastination is very common, but this doesn’t mean it has to stick with us for life. Your Psychologist can help you tailor these strategies to best suit your needs. Feel free to Contact Us for more information.
For further reading:
Rozental, A., Bennett, S., Forsström, D., Ebert, D. D., Shafran, R., Andersson, G., & Carlbring, P. (2018). Targeting Procrastination Using Psychological Treatments: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1588. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01588
van Eerde, W., & Klingsieck, K.B., (2018) Overcoming Procrastination? A Meta Analysis of Intervention Studies, Educational Research Review, 25, 73-85 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.edurev.2018.09.002
It is completely normal to have emotional ups and downs in life. We all have our good days and our bad days. However, you have probably noticed that since hitting puberty your teenager seems to be having more frequent and extreme ups and downs. Adolescence can be a tricky time. Teenagers are dealing with changes in their body, their friendships, their school demands, and their increasing independence from you. It can feel that your young person seems to go from feeling frustrated to feeling sad to feeling overjoyed in a matter of minutes. Often these mood changes seem to come from nowhere and can certainly be confronting for parents to deal with.
Why do teenagers experience mood swings?
The research says that mood swings can occur for a number of different reasons. Firstly, when your teenager hit puberty they started producing sex hormones. That is, estrogen and progesterone in girls and testosterone in boys. This means that increased feelings of irritability, sadness, and frequent frustration can be related to chemical changes in their bodies. Your teenager's brain is also going through a major change, as it rewires itself to become a functioning adult. Often the last part of the brain to develop is the pre-frontal cortex. This part of the brain helps your young person control their emotions, manage their impulses, and consider the consequences of their actions. This part of the brain is the last section to develop! So while your teenager may be starting to look more and more like an adult, at times their abilities to manage their strong emotions is more like that of a younger child.
On top of all that physical change, your teenager is having to deal with a range of new pressures. They might be starting high school, making new friends, having to complete more complicated assessment tasks, or they might be starting a new job. Often they are also developing their identity, which can involve wanting to be accepted by their friends while also becoming more independent from their parents. All of these competing demands can be very overwhelming for your young person.
When are mood changes more serious than a mood swing?
While mood swings are to be expected in teenagers, sometimes it may feel like there is something more serious going on. Depression is the most common mental health problem treated in young people. Some signs of depression can include:
When should I seek help?
You might consider seeking help for your young person if these signs are:
You can start by talking to your GP about whether your young person may benefit from psychological therapy. At Lifespan Health we are able to provide psychological treatment for mood disorders and general management of strong emotions. Feel free to Contact Us for more information.