Chủ Nhật, Tháng Tư 21, 2024
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HomeLISTENING Why you procrastinate even when it feels bad

[Mp4] Why you procrastinate even when it feels bad

 

It’s 5 p.m., and you’ve just realized that report you’ve been putting off is due tomorrow. It’s time to buckle down, open your computer … and check your phone. Maybe catch up on your favorite YouTube channel?

 

Actually, you should probably make dinner first.

 

You usually like cooking, though it’s hard to enjoy with this work hanging over your head, and oh — it’s actually pretty late! Maybe you should just try again in the morning?

 

This is the cycle of procrastination, and I promise you, we have all been there. But why do we keep procrastinating even when we know it’s bad for us?

 

To be clear, putting something off isn’t always procrastinating. Responsible time management requires deciding which tasks are important and which ones can wait.

 

Procrastination is when we avoid a task we said we would do, for no good reason, despite expecting our behavior to bring negative consequences.

 

Obviously, it’s irrational to do something you expect to harm you. But ironically, procrastination is the result of our bodies trying to protect us, specifically by avoiding a task we see as threatening.

 

When you realize you need to write that report, your brain responds like it would to any incoming threat.

 

Your amygdala, a set of neurons involved in emotional processing and threat identification, releases hormones including adrenaline that kick off a fear response.

 

This stress-induced panic can overpower the impulses from your prefrontal cortex, which typically help you think long term and regulate your emotions. And it’s in the midst of this fight, flight, or freeze response that you decide to handle the threat by avoiding it in favor of some less stressful task.

 

This response might seem extreme — after all, it’s just a deadline, not a bear attack.

 

But we’re most likely to procrastinate tasks that evoke negative feelings, such as dread, incompetence, and insecurity.

 

Studies of procrastinating university students have found participants were more likely to put off tasks they perceived as stressful or challenging.

 

And the perception of how difficult the task is increases while you’re putting it off.

 

In one experiment, students were given reminders to study throughout the day. While they were studying, most reported that it wasn’t so bad. But when they were procrastinating, they consistently rated the idea of studying as very stressful, making it difficult to get started.

 

Because procrastination is motivated by our negative feelings, some individuals are more susceptible to it than others.

 

People who have difficulty regulating their emotions and those who struggle with low self-esteem are much more likely to procrastinate, regardless of how good they are at time management.

 

However, it’s a common misconception that all procrastinators are lazy.

 

In the body and brain, laziness is marked by no energy and general apathy. When you’re feeling lazy, you’re more likely to sit around doing nothing than distract yourself with unimportant tasks.

 

In fact, many people procrastinate because they care too much. Procrastinators often report a high fear of failure, putting things off because they’re afraid their work won’t live up to their high standards.

 

Whatever the reason for procrastination, the results are often the same. Frequent procrastinators are likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, ongoing feelings of shame, higher stress levels and physical ailments associated with high stress.

 

Worst of all, while procrastination hurts us in the long run, it does temporarily reduce our stress level, reinforcing it as a bodily response for coping with stressful tasks.

 

So, how can we break the cycle of procrastination?

 

Traditionally, people thought procrastinators needed to cultivate discipline and practice strict time management. But today, many researchers feel the exact opposite.

 

Being too hard on yourself can layer additional bad emotions onto a task, making the threat even more intense. To short-circuit this stress response, we need to address and reduce these negative emotions.

 

Some simple strategies include breaking a task into smaller elements or journaling about why it’s stressing you out and addressing those underlying concerns.

 

Try removing nearby distractions that make it easy to impulsively procrastinate.

 

And more than anything, it helps to cultivate an attitude of self-compassion, forgiving yourself, and making a plan to do better next time.

 

Because a culture that perpetuates this cycle of stress and procrastination hurts all of us in the long term.

 

WORD BANK:

put off sth [B1] (v): trì hoãn

due /duː/ (adj): đến hạn

buckle down to (doing) sth (v): bắt đầu làm gì một cách chăm chỉ, nghiêm túc

catch up on sth (v): theo dõi (tin tức, kênh truyền hình)

procrastinate /proʊˈkræs.tə.neɪt/ (v): trì hoãn

procrastination /proʊˌkræs.tɪˈneɪ.ʃən/ (n): sự trì hoãn

irrational /ɪˈræʃ.ən.əl/ [C2] (adj): phi lý

ironically /aɪˈrɑː.nɪ.kəl.i/ [C2] (adv): trớ trêu thay

incoming /ˈɪnˌkʌm.ɪŋ/ (adj): sắp đến

amygdala /əˈmɪɡ.də.lə/ (n): hạch hạnh nhân

neuron /ˈnʊr.ɑːn/ (n): tế bào thần kinh

threat /θret/ [B2] (n): mối đe dọa

identify /aɪˈden.t̬ə.faɪ/ [B2] (v): xác định

kick off [C1] (v): kích hoạt

stress-induced /stres ɪnˈduːst/ (adj): do căng thẳng gây ra

panic /ˈpæn.ɪk/ [B2] (n): sự hoảng loạn

overpower sth /ˌoʊ.vɚˈpaʊ.ɚ/ (v):chế ngự, áp đảo cái gì

impulse /ˈɪm.pʌls/ (n): xung động

prefrontal cortex /ˌpriː.frʌn.t̬əl ˈkɔːr.teks/ (adj): trước trán vỏ não

in favor of sth (pre): cho, vì cái gì

extreme /ɪkˈstriːm/ [C2] (adj): cực đoan

evoke /ɪˈvoʊk/ (v): gợi lên (cảm giác, cảm xúc)

dread /dred/ (n): sợ hãi

incompetence /ɪnˈkɑːm.pə.t̬əns/ (n): sự kém cỏi

perceive /pəˈsiːv/ [C1] (v): cho là

experiment /ɪkˈsper.ə.mənt/ [B1] (n): thí nghiệm

consistently /kənˈsɪs.tənt.li/ [C2] (adv) luôn luôn, liên tục, thường xuyên

susceptible to sth /səˈsep.tə.bəl/ (adj): dễ gặp phải

regulate /ˈreɡ.jə.leɪt/ [C1] (v): điều chỉnh

self-esteem /ˌself.ɪˈstiːm/ [C1] (n): lòng tự trọng

regardless of sth /rɪˈɡɑːrd.ləs/ [C1] (pre): bất kể điều gì

misconception /ˌmɪs.kənˈsep.ʃən/ (n): quan niệm sai lầm

apathy /ˈæp.ə.θi/ (n): sự thờ ơ

live up to sth [B2] (v): đáp ứng (kỳ vọng, tiêu chuẩn)

anxiety /æŋˈzaɪ.ə.t̬i/ [B2] (n): lo âu

depression /dɪˈpreʃ.ən/ [B2] (n): trầm cảm

ongoing /ˈɑːnˌɡoʊ.ɪŋ/ [C2] (adj): liên tục

ailment /ˈeɪl.mənt/ (n): bệnh (nhẹ, thông thường)

associated with sth /əˈsoʊ.si.eɪ.t̬ɪd/ (pre): liên quan đến cái gì

temporarily /ˈtem.pə.rer.əl.i/ [B2] (adv): tạm thời

cope with sth (v): đối phó với cái gì

cultivate /ˈkʌl.tə.veɪt/ [C2] (v): rèn luyện, phát triển

discipline /ˈdɪs.ə.plɪn/ [B2] (n): kỷ luật

intense /ɪnˈtens/ [C1] (adj): nghiêm trọng

short-circuit /ˌʃɔːrt ˈsɝː.kɪt/ (v): ngắt mạch

underlying /ˌʌn.dɚˈlaɪ.ɪŋ/ [C2] (adj): cơ bản

impulsive /ɪmˈpʌl.sɪv/ [C2] (adj): bốc đồng

self-compassion /self kəmˈpæʃ.ən/ (n): từ bi với bản thân

perpetuate /pɚˈpetʃ.u.eɪt/ (v): kéo dài


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