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Is Procrastination a Symptom of Depression?

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DepressedThere is a real link between procrastination thinking styles and mild to serious depression in many people. It is, however, a chicken and egg scenario. For some people the act of procrastination causes depression (reactive depression) as a personality trait, and for others biological depression (innate depression) causes procrastination as a feature of their illness. In other words: procrastination can lead to depression and depression can result in procrastination.

Depression is a withdrawal from normal psychological functioning. Depressed people interact less with the world than they did when they were functioning in a healthy way of thinking and behaving. Depressed people withdraw from the world because they may find human interaction too stressful and threatening. They live in fear of disappointment.

Biological (innate) causes of depression are caused by a lack of serotonin in the blood stream. Serotonin has been dubbed the ‘happiness hormone’ and produces feelings of wellbeing and euphoria. Various illness and biological changes such as post natal depression, serious biological illness and disease, puberty, menopause, andropause, aging, malnutrition, drug addiction or adverse reactions to drugs, and accident trauma can cause bodily changes whereby the body fails to produce the required level of serotonin for a healthy life.

If you are a biologically depressed person, you have low serotonin so you also experience low motivation. This turns into a loop where one leads to the other. What this means is that you procrastinate about making serious decisions in your life and even feel incapable and unconfident about making decisions. The lack of motivation also results in you starting, but not continuing or completing tasks. Part of that behaviour is finding all sorts of excuses not to engage with life, make decisions and do tasks.

If you experience reactive depression, you have had your everyday functioning disrupted. Reactive depression occurs when you have experienced a trauma in your life which has broken the normal hormonal functioning cycle that motivates you in your day-to-day life. The body has become overloaded with stress through an event, which may have been physical injury or psychological shock, causing the adrenal glands to overload then slow down. You feel like you do not have much energy or cannot be bothered do to do anything. You procrastinate about decisions or being involved with tasks.

So for some of you who procrastinate, it is part of your depressive experience and avoidance strategy to engage with life thinking styles.

Cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) seeks to help people be aware of their thoughts, thinking patterns, behaviour and motivation or lack of motivation that feed into their depressive experiences.

What CBT also does is try to teach people how to think and behave differently. This is very important because as a depressed person, you have forgotten how to operate your normal, happy thinking processes. It does not matter how you may have come to depression, CBT coupled with hypnosis can be very effective in motivating psychological and behaviour change that then kick-starts the biological body into producing more serotonin.

The increase in serotonin helps alleviate depression but unless you have learned to think differently and learned how to operate goal directed decision making and tasking, there is a danger that the depression will return.

Remember, happiness and goal directed behaviours are dependent on good biology and good thought processes and there is a loop in functioning between the biological and psychological. So the solution to depression is not only to change the body, but also the mind.

For more help in overcoming procrastination, see my Stop Procrastination Hypnosis downloadable program.

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