Procrastination; Why we Engage in it

Through an article entitled “Procrastination” featured on GoodTherapy, we are able to begin to see the difference between the natural tendency to put things off  and chronic procrastination:

“One common misconception about procrastinators is that they have poor time management skills. While this may sometimes be the case, there are often deeper issues at play. Some research indicates that those who are prone to chronic procrastination may find help with emotional regulation and stress management more valuable than skills-training for time management. This is because procrastination may stem partly from an inability to cope with difficult emotions in the moment or from a fear of being unable to cope with negative emotion.”

This makes perfect sense; if we tend to have difficulty regulating our mood, or find a particular emotion upsetting, avoidance is one of the ways that we cope. The effects of chronic procrastination can create a defeatist-type cycle; one in which can affect our overall quality of life.

Two ways that the article featured on how to begin to reduce the tendency to procrastinate I particularly resonated with:

  • Find accountability. This can include asking a friend or partner to help keep you on track; the process of doing so will help to create a sense of agency and accomplishment.
  • Start small. Very often, breaking down a bigger issue in smaller steps helps us stick to the task at hand and not feel overwhelmed.

To read the full article which included effects of chronic procrastination and additional coping strategies: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/procrastination

 

 

Today We Have a Choice

Came across this lovely passage about today:

Today you have a choice.

You can choose between 

anger and love.

Division and unity.

Frustration and hope.

Selfishness and giving.

Turning away and showing up.

Choose kindness

and the choice is simple.

It’s hard to regret being kind.

– Rachel Marie Martin

 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@ditto7

Observe and Describe; Getting Back to our Emotions

Our emotional system is quite amazing. We are born with a set of emotions that innately work for us and yet that same emotional system is shaped by the world around us. The experiences and lessons we have been taught by our caregivers will influence and guide us into our emotions and our reactions to those feelings, healthy or not.

We know that emotion trumps reason every time. In reclaiming our emotional system so as to begin to feel more emotionally regulated, the first step is to simply observe and describe our emotions at any given time in our day. This is easier said than done 🙂

Our emotions as adults often come with judgement: “Crying is a sign of weakness,” “I go from 0 to 60 when I’m angry and I know its wrong,” “I feel guilty because I disappoint people.” Judgments,; however, tend to be a precursor to action; so we are much better served to set our goals on observing and describing: “I feel sad right now,” “I can feel a tightness in my chest,” “I can feel my anger rising.”

This may not be easy, but with practice and patience, you will begin to see your emotions in a different light. Freeing them from their cages, you will feel lighter and less tied to developed patterns; giving you a sense of agency and direction in your own emotional world.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@tengyart

 

A Thought From Gary Zukav

In his best selling book entitled “The Seat of the Soul,” Gary Zukav has this to say about intention:

“When an intention comes from your heart, it brings the energy of your heart into your action and creates experiences for you. When your intention is not from your heart, it brings fear into your action and creates your experiences. You must be aware of what you are feeling and thinking in order to recognize the difference.” 

He goes on to mention that we can ask ourselves this question as a mini checklist:

“Is my heart open? Is it clear, grounded and inclusive?”

If your answer is yes, your heart is open and your intention “keeps you in touch with the whole.”

What a great reminder when we are unsure of our intention. If our fearful feelings are potentially leading us to an action urge that we may regret, we can ask ourselves about our intention and whether or not it is being driven by fear or by love 🙂

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@nicolafioravanti

Surround Yourself

I appreciate this passage by Victoria Erickson:

“This is your reminder

that you’ll consistently deepen.

And it’s a lot more fun,

magical and beautiful 

to involve yourself with only those

who can handle it.

Who will deepen and

learn right alongside you.”

– Victoria Erickson

This is why we sometimes outgrow relationships, or have to take space from people who fail to support us.  This is why we sometimes need to purge our social media and add those that help us in our journey to calm. This is why we choose forgiveness over resentment, and light over dark. Victoria Erickson reminds us that as we consistently deepen, we have the choice to make it a joyful experience.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@corina

Criticism and It’s Internal Voice

“It is all my fault.” “There is something wrong with me.” “Nothing I ever do is good enough.” Clients who come to therapy struggling with self-worth say these things to themselves. And pretty much every one of them had a parent who was critical.

The need to criticize another person is about control. What better way to control someone than to oppress them; if they feel lesser than you, they will most likely do your bidding and you feel safe and secure in top position. Unhealthy? Absolutely.  When we grow up with a critical parent we get these messages honestly; when we become adults, our internal voice takes over and we begin to repeat the messages to ourselves, usually acting in ways that reinforce the way we feel.

We can challenge our inner critic by identifying  the messages, then asking ourselves “Who does this really sound like?” (It doesn’t usually take much exploring to get to the answer.) From there, we can begin to ask ourselves “Could it be different?” And the answer is unequivocally “Yes.”

Your inner critic is yours; it is yours to keep listening to or it is yours to challenge.  You can allow it to keep its throne, or strip it of its power. The choice, ultimately is yours; perhaps that realization is the first step in quieting your internal voice and putting it in its place.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@laughayette

 

10 Ways to Distract Yourself from an Uncomfortable Emotion

Dealing with an uncomfortable emotion can wreak havoc on our comfort system. We can try to avoid a prickly feeling, but it likes center stage; it will keep poking at us to the point where emotion trumps reason, leaving us feeling flustered and possibly regretful for things said or done in the heat of an all encompassing emotion.

When we attempt to bring our rational mind into the picture, one of the ways we can do that is with distraction. It is important to note that distraction techniques are not avoidance; rather they are useful activities that help shift us into a position that is closer to wise mind. Taking a few deep breaths to start, here are ten ways we can distract ourselves from an uncomfortable emotion:

  • Get moving on a task you need to get done. Focusing on something allows you to feel productive.
  • Pay it forward; doing something kind for another person allows you to feel altruistic, a higher-level emotion.
  • Watch a funny show or movie.
  • Complete a word puzzle such as a crossword. Work on a Rubik’s cube.
  • Count to 10, forwards and backwards. Repeat song lyrics or a prayer.
  • Get outside; fresh air and walking always help.
  • Organize something; a closet, your calendar, your plastics cupboard 🙂
  • Call a friend; inviting them out for coffee.
  • For 15 minutes, resist the urge to act. Very often, that is all it takes to resist unhealthy behaviours.
  • Use sensation; hold an ice cube in your hand, take a hot shower, wash your face in cold water.

Any one of these distraction techniques opens up the space for your rational mind to get a bit more wiggle room in the space that your emotions are occupying. When we allow some common sense to temper our emotions, we feel more grounded and prepared to deal with the situation in a calmer state.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@rosssneddon

 

A Little Reminder

Just in case you needed it today:

“The sun is still shining,
the wind is still blowing,
and out in the wild
you are growing.
Days may go by
without change
you can feel,
but what’s happening here
is most certainly real:
You are becoming
what you were meant
to become
out in the wild
in the arms of the sun.”

– Morgan Harper Nichols

And as Anne Dillard reminds us:

“No one escapes the wilderness on the way to the promised land.” – Anne Dillard.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@redcharlie

 

 

The Difference Between Guilt and Shame

Guilt is one of our healthy emotions; if we manage our feelings of guilt in a way as to help us repair, it can strengthen our relationships and help contribute to a sound regulation of our emotions. Although there is a belief that shame is an extension of guilt, that is a misconception. Shame may share some characteristics with guilt; they are both self-conscious and fall into the class of “moral” emotions; however, shame differs from guilt as it is tied to self-worth.

When we feel guilty, we did something bad; when we feel shame, we are bad. Guilt will make us feel regret; shame will make us feel small. When we feel guilty, we desire to apologize; when shame strikes, we desire to hide.

People who struggle with shame often have experienced childhoods that planted the seed of worthlessness. Trauma, attachment injuries, abuse or being made to feel shameful can all apply. Although the working through of shame does often require therapy, it is important to remember that if you or a loved one struggles with shame, experiencing a shameful act or being made to carry the weight of shame by a parent does not make you a shameful person. You may have been affected by the experience, but you are most definitely not defined by it.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@silvestrimatteo

 

Learn to Love Yourself

I came across this lovely reminder about self-love:

One thing your life will be is full.

Not just full of happy days.

Not just full of sad days.

But full of them both.

And then there will be many in between days too.

Learn to love yourself in each.

This is the best thing you can do for your life.

– s.c lourie

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@zoltantasi