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This is what happens to your brain when you procrastinate

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22.09.2021

We can all probably agree that procrastination isn’t wise. Some of us like to believe we work better under pressure. But pressure adds unnecessary stress. While most of us procrastinate from time to time, we often chalk it up to poor planning. When you understand what’s going on in your brain, though, a failure to plan isn’t the root cause.

“Procrastination is an emotion-focused coping strategy,” says Tim Pychyl, associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, and author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: a concise guide to strategies for change. “It’s not a time management problem.”

Pychyl says researchers in Germany compared the brains of procrastinators to non-procrastinators using functional MRI. It found that the brains of procrastinators have a larger amygdala, which is part of the limbic system known for fight or flight.

“What’s happening is what we call the ‘amygdala hijack,'” says Pychyl. “The procrastinators are reacting emotionally, and the emotion-focused coping response is to escape. It’s saying, ‘I don’t want these negative emotions I’ll experience during the task,’ and so it avoids the task.”

Another important brain reaction is how it perceives the future. Research done by UCLA social........

© Fast Company


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