Procrastination as an Access Point
Procrastination can really serve as an access point to learn more about how you feel, think and behave when faced with uncomfortable circumstances. Whether it is irritation towards having to complete a mundane task, fear of the unknown and/or low tolerance for feeling judged most people choose to procrastinate at one point or another. Mindfulness is a compassionate practice we can integrate into our lives, allowing us to have a readily available method to calm ourselves down when distressed. Mindfulness increases our awareness of what we are experiencing and allows us the space to decide how we want to act in our daily lives.
For example, imagine feeling frustrated or anxious about having to complete a task. Picture yourself in that moment when everything just feels overwhelmingly uncomfortable: physical sensations start bubbling inside you, combined with intense resentment for having to experience this. Now imagine being able to feel your emotions without reacting in the moment. Imagine observing the emotions and thoughts that are arising without getting caught up in them — being able to keep your emotional balance. This allows you to think about how you would like to respond in the situation vs. how you would instinctively react. Mindfulness is a means by which we can get to know our sensations and thoughts without simply reacting. Even the feelings which we may label as “negative”; I feel has been labelled in an inaccurate manner. I invite you to view these emotions as “opportunistic emotions” as they allow us an opportunity to look deeper at a situation.
Our relationships test us in many ways, redefining how we see ourselves and the world around us. Especially, the relationship we have with ourselves. When we feel we are in a vulnerable state, (which is how we may be feeling when we decide to procrastinate) we can become more reactive. From this, we are at a greater risk of self-sabotaging and not acting in our best interest. For example, I have been procrastinating about video taping myself, but I became aware that each time I did procrastinate, I felt guilty and disappointed in myself as it was stopping me from what I really wanted to do…connect with you. So, after reflection and understanding my WHY, it made sense that I was choosing to procrastinate. I felt like I had to act like someone else in front of the camera and this really caused me to feel disconnected with the act of recording, it made sense and it lost its heaviness.
Mindfulness isn’t about denying or burying our emotions. It’s simply about cultivating a different relationship to our feelings and experiences. We can notice our feelings and thoughts like a speed boat quickly zooming on top of the water, but we alone choose if we want to climb on board. When we learn to observe our experiences in this manner, our thoughts and feelings start to flow through us like waves, it creates a distance and connection at the same time. It helps us become familiar with our mind. Ultimately, it allows us to recognize the many “critical inner chats” that take place, without us even knowing it which would typicallyrule our decisions. As we get to know these “voices,” we can start to explore and experiment the opposite to how we usually act, not permitting them to shape our perceptions of ourselves and/or our situations.
When we know ourselves, we become emotionally and mentally stronger. As mindfulness expert Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn repeatedly explains, mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment on purpose and without judgment. If we stay in the moment when we usually procrastinate we will build resiliency and learn something new from that experience. And that is what living is about isn’t it? Growth and evolving. Learning to complete this gracefully and mindfully cultivates greater insight, empathy and the ability to embrace aspects regarding various activities we may otherwise avoid. This approach can alleviate unhealthy levels of stress, increasing our ability to pay attention to where we want it and cultivate self-compassion. This will better prepare you to take steps towards various life situations.
Understanding how procrastination relates to your emotional health and practicing ways of nurturing your well-being can help you to become the person you want to be every day for true life transformations. Why procrastinate?…your time is NOW.