Depression Relationship Therapy
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by Karen A. Solomon, LCSW, BCD, CGP, CHt

Each month as the deadline for my article approaches, I begin to dread the process. As the date gets closer, I feel increasingly anxious. I fear not having anything to write about and I imagine staring at a blank screen for hours. As soon as I begin writing, my anxiety lessens and I start feeling excited at the prospect of having more to say. However, prior to actually sitting down to write, I may postpone this task, inevitably finding something else I must do first. I understand that under certain circumstances, I will procrastinate.

Procrastinators tend to have a misconception about productivity and motivation. That is we think we will do something when we feel like it or are in the right frame of mind. The truth is, the action usually precedes the motivation when it comes to tasks that scare us. As we begin to tackle the work, we get more into it and work harder. Are we really ever “in the mood” to clean the basement or write a paper or mow the lawn?

Procrastinators also fear the task at hand will be very frustrating and difficult, therefore making us less eager to start. We also fear failure and don’t want to start something we think we might not be able to do successfully or perfectly. Procrastination is an attempt to avoid uncomfortable feelings associated with the anticipation of the work involved. Unfortunately, putting something off makes us feel guilty and more anxious. As we start the process, we begin to feel relief.

Motivation evolves from expecting and looking forward to gratification and reward for our effort. Procrastinators are often people who never feel their accomplishments are good enough. They are great at finding fault in everything they do. Lacking the experience of a true sense of satisfaction, procrastinators have a difficult time approaching tasks. After all, why bother? Highly successful people know that life is filled with frustration, rejection and obstacles to overcome. They accept this and do not allow this reality to interfere with their determination, persistence and commitment. In addition, they give themselves credit for their efforts and feel good about themselves for getting involved.

Another problem procrastinators struggle with is the “tyranny of the shoulds.” Should statements evoke feelings of guilt and resentment, resulting in more avoidance and delay. “Should” implies some external rule or moral code and is really irrelevant when it comes to completing projects. If we modify our self talk and say “it would benefit me greatly to complete this assignment today,” or “I really will feel better when that job is finished,” we may feel more inclined to persevere.

As so often happens once I start the often dreaded writing process, I could go on and on, but I am limited by space constraints. Perhaps for my next article, I will expand on this topic and hopefully with less apprehension.

Karen A. Solomon
Office : 631 - 543 - 2050

Commack, New York 11725

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