PROCRASTINATION – Part 3 RUMINATION AND NEGATIVITY
Going a layer deeper into why we procrastinate breaks off into two significant areas of personal growth: rumination, and negative mindset.
Research has shown that procrastination is closely linked to rumination or becoming fixated on negative thoughts. Prior posts on this subject covered many of the common reasons why we procrastinate and the underlying drivers for that behavior.
Rumination involves repetitive and passive thoughts focused on the causes and effects of a person’s distress. These thoughts do not lead to the person engaging in solving strategies that would relieve distress and improve mood. Repetitive worrying that repeats.
Not engaging in solving strategies is where this one shows up in procrastination because most of your mental cycles are consumed here. The brain has taught itself that ruminating is more gratifying than managing a task. By identifying why or what is underneath, it helps resolve it.
An hour had gone by before I said to myself, “I’m ruminating”, and I knew it because I was angry and righteous about a confrontation with a dog owner. I felt heavy and frustrated. I kept replaying the exchange over and over making it as righteous as possible. It didn’t help me feel better. I was beating myself up.
When I slowed down my thinking, I felt shame about my conduct (I yelled after the dog charged me) and felt uncomfortable with my conduct. We live in the same neighborhood but not the same street. It felt like I was in a thinking trap I couldn’t get out of until I slowed down and got in touch with the shame I was experiencing. Once I did that the rumination loop ended.
Negative mindset, otherwise known as negativity. It refers to a pattern of thinking about yourself and your surroundings. We all experience these thoughts now and again. For the more embedded versions, it can affect the way you think about yourself and the world and can interfere with work/study/relationships. For a deeper dive into this see my prior blog post titled, Negative Mindset.
Once established, negativity seeps into everything, especially a task list, and it can fuel procrastination with thoughts like, I should, or I’m swamped (overwhelmed). These are deeply unmotivating thoughts contributing to inertia.
When rumination and negativity have less of a grip on us, we’re able to see a way out and how it lessens the negative effects of procrastinating. Imagine not experiencing dread or delay on a task list or difficult conversation, and leaning into it only to learn the world didn’t end and the relationship was not at risk.
In the field of procrastination there are a host of drivers that help explain its root causes and most likely solution paths.
If you sense that procrastination is costing you peace of mind or worse, your relationships then please go to our home page and fill out the LET’S CHAT box so we can connect.