Downhill life. Scientists reveal why procrastination is really dangerous
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Researchers believe that putting things off until later can indicate a number of serious problems.
Scientists have found that at least half of university students procrastinate to levels that are potentially harmful to their health. What's more, the researchers believe this may not be the only result of procrastination, writes Science Alert.
Another study found a link between procrastination and poor health. However, researchers still could not figure out exactly how this works – whether procrastination leads to poor health, postponing going to the doctor for later, or vice versa – they simply do not have the energy to complete tasks.
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To answer this question, a team of scientists from the Karolinska Institute and Sophiahemmet University conducted a longitudinal study in which they observed people over a period of time and took measurements at various points in the study. A total of 3,525 students from eight universities in Stockholm and the surrounding area took part in the study.
During the study, which lasted a year, students were asked to fill out questionnaires every three months. After 9 months, 2587 students completed a control questionnaire that assessed health outcomes.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers divided the students into groups based on their tendency to procrastinate. The results of the study showed that 9 months later, the level of procrastination is associated with more severe symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. In addition, this group of students also reported disabling shoulder and arm pain, poor sleep quality, loneliness, and financial difficulties. The scientists note that these associations persisted even when they took into account other factors that may have influenced the results, including age, gender, educational level, and previous mental and physical diagnoses.
The researchers note that their data do not indicate any specific health effects, but do indicate that procrastination is important for a wide range of health outcomes, both physical and mental, including a generally unhealthy lifestyle. .
However, it is important to know that a new clinical trial has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in combating procrastination. Scientists have found that such treatment can help the patient overcome procrastination:
- break long-term goals into short-term ones;
- control distractions (including turning off the phone);
- keep focus on the task;
- work with negative emotions.
Researchers note that treating procrastination will require some effort and does not guarantee quick results, but even small changes will have a great effect on the patient's quality of life.