Putting off the dishes, putting off studying for an important test, or putting off important activities are common habits of procrastinators. A new study published this month in the journal JAMA Network Open shows how avoiding appointments can be a sign of poor health.
Researchers from Sweden conducted the study by following the lifestyles of 2,587 students from eight universities in Stockholm over the course of nine months. Their aim was to show whether procrastination can cause mental and/or physical effects.
Using a procrastination scale, the scientists divided the participants into two groups for comparison: those who were more likely to procrastinate and those who were less prepared. At the end of the nine months they filled out a questionnaire in which various health parameters were measured.
Higher levels of procrastination have been associated with poorer mental health and stronger symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. In addition to the high incidence of disability of shoulder or arm pain – or both – leading to poor sleep quality, loneliness and financial difficulties.
“Although there is no specific health outcome strongly linked to procrastination, the findings suggest that it may be important for a wide range of health outcomes, including mental health problems, debilitating pain and an unhealthy lifestyle,” says Eva
The scientist says that other factors not taken into account in the analysis may explain the associations between procrastination and health damage and acknowledge the limitations of the study, such as the short period of time that has passed and the frequency of application of the questionnaires.
“By having students answer the questionnaires at different times, we can ensure that there are high levels of procrastination before their health is measured,” says Eva.
Clinical trial studies have shown that cognitive behavioral bias therapy helps people avoid procrastination. Strategies such as separating long-term goals into short-term goals. stay focused on one activity at a time. And managing the distractions that the world presents, such as cell phone use, can be very helpful in this process.
“It takes some effort, it’s not something one person can do trying to meet a deadline. But even small changes can have a big impact. Why not start the day by leaving your phone in another room when you need to focus on one work;” the teacher suggests.