Procrastination Answers

How do I escape this comfort zone and gain love and confidence in myself?

Here's the thing, there is no such thing as the "perfect time". The only time is NOW :) When we "wait for the right moment", we miss out on opportunities to grow and learn. Perfectionism may be caused by a fear of judgment or disapproval from others. Our early childhood experiences, such as having parents with unrealistically high expectations, may play a role. Perfectionism is especially prevalent in those who experienced childhood trauma, particularly if a child's parents or caregivers withheld love or affection, did not allow children to make mistakes, or if parents never spoke about their own mistakes or normalized them as a process of learning, reflecting, and growing. Often a lot of shame comes up around this.  In the above instance, children are likely to develop the belief that they must work hard by 'proving themselves' or their self-worth to gain love and approval, or that making a mistake means rejection and disapproval from caregivers.   The core belief of "it has to be perfect or I'm not good enough, I failed, I'm going to be judged, etc". This story based in the past keeps us stuck there, and unable to be present. We may be frozen with fear, questioning the "what if's" if we're always waiting for the "perfect time". Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible, and sometimes do not even start or finish things. This stems from the fear that not meeting the goal means that there is something bad, wrong or unworthy inside, and thus is a cycle.    There are various ways in which perfectionism can lead to procrastination. For example, it can increase the negative emotions that people experience when they make mistakes, which leads people to delay their work as a way to delay the associated negative emotions. It can create unnecessary and anxiety.    Therefore, this is not really a subject related to self discipline, but more so confidence, accountability, willingness to learn, and a sense of worthiness. Feeling safe in our body to do something that makes us temporarily uncomfortable. When we allow ourselves to let go of needing to control the outcome, we can just take the first step. The first step is the biggest step. Inheriting a beginner's mindset while allowing yourself room to learn and grow is key. Offer yourself empathy and compassion as you step into this space. 
(LCSW-C, Certified, Integrative, Mental, Health, Medicine, Provider, Trauma-Informed, Yoga, Teacher)
Answered on 09/27/2022

How to be consistent in reaching goals

We set different types of goals for ourselves to move forward and feel accomplished. Personal growth can include goals towards health, inter-personal relationships, financial, career, and family. It can be overwhelming to take on goals, whether they are small or large.  I assist many individuals who experience anxiety and stress and are not getting sleep (poor quality and not enough restful sleep). We work on setting small goals. Progressing from poor sleep 7 days a week to enough sleep 1-2 days a week is the first step we look at for goal setting. Sometimes we need assistance to develop skills to improve focus and concentration. It can be helpful to work with an objective individual to provide support and help with accountability and encouragement when it's most needed. Have you tried breaking down the goal into smaller steps, an easy to follow "map" of how to get there? A to do list with actionable items you can check off to lead you closer to your goal. The list can include a daily checklist, a weekly list, and a longer term month or year planning list. How have you successfully accomplished goals previously? What lessons can you take from those times to help you succeed in your endeavors? Are you setting realistic goals for yourself? Identify how additional supports and resources can make it easier to complete your goals. How has putting off accomplishing these goals affected your daily life and your long term plans? What are some consequences of not completing these goals?  What are the benefits you will gain from accomplishing these goals? A visual representation of what it means to achieve these goals can be a good motivator. A drawing, vision board, a small daily reward system are encouraging ways to keep moving yourself forward and help measure growth and achievement.  Dedicate some time each day to help you get closer to your goals. When you see you are able to accomplish these smaller steps, you may gain confidence and resilience needed to get closer to reaching your goals.  There are times in our lives when it can be beneficial to meet with a licensed mental health counselor to help with these types of stressors.  
(LPC, NCC)
Answered on 09/25/2022

Implementing good habits

Dear Butter, I am so glad that you found BetterHelp and that you have reached out for support. It sounds like you have a lot going on, and that mainly you would like help to reach your full potential by increasing your self-confidence and getting motivated so that you procrastinate less. The good news is that there are of ways to achieve these goals and I am confident that a therapist here on BetterHelp will be able to help. I also have some recommendations for you to consider while you are waiting to be matched with your therapist. 1) MAKE A SCHEDULE. You may already be doing this, but I strongly suggest that you set yourself a schedule for the day (even days when you are not working and do not have a lot going on). For example, it could look like: 0800 – 0900: Eat breakfast and shower 0900 – 1000: Clean the kitchen and one other room in the home 1000 – 1100: Return text messages and email; Pay bills or other tasks I’m avoiding [And so on….] When you make a schedule and then follow it, you may feel a great sense of accomplishment, even though these are just regular tasks. 2) GET BUSIER. Some people are *less* productive when they do not have a lot to do, and *more* productive when they have a lot on their plate. Do you fall into this group? If so, find additional things to do in your spare time to increase your sense of urgency about getting things done. 3) MAKE SMART (S – M – A – R – T) GOALS. Sometimes we make goals for ourself that are far too big and then we feel bad when we can’t achieve them. With your therapist here in BetterHelp, you will be able to track a variety of goals and work together to make progress (usually starting with very small things, and then working up to bigger goals. We use the acronym S – M – A – R – T to help. I’ll give you an example. Let us say that you want to start exercising more regularly. Instead of just saying “I want to be fit,” we would follow the S – M – A – R – T acronym: S: Specific. For example, what *kind* of exercise? M: Measurable. For example, is this the kind of thing your can measure (instead of something like “look good” which is very hard to measure). A: Attainable. For example, making sure that it’s a reasonable goal (like starting with 15 minutes and then working up so you can have a taste of success) R: Relevant. For example, does this goal actually have anything to do with your overall needs? T: Time-based. For example, how long and how often would you do the exercise? Putting all of the S – M – A – R – T together, you may end up with a goal like “I will walk for 20 minutes at least three times a week.” 4) LEARN MORE ABOUT ANXIETY. Sometimes fear can prevent us from trying things. Physical sensations like increased heart rate, sweating, feeling overwhelmed and panicked are signs of your fight or flight response. This is an evolutionary function of our sympathetic nervous system that helps our bodies prepare for dealing with predators (either to fight or flee). In addition, you may feel your muscles tense up and a surge of energy as glucose and adrenaline are released into your bloodstream. The fight or flight response makes a lot of sense if you are dealing with a physical threat, but it does not help us much when our threat is a work deadline, being late for an appointment, meeting a new person, poor internet connection, or other modern stressors. Indeed, too much of the fight or flight response causes stomach upset, muscle tension, bad mood, trouble sleeping, and eventually even lowered immunity (do you ever notice how college students always get sick right after final exams?).  - Disrupt intense fear or the fight or flight response with deep breathing. Learning deep belly breathing (or “diaphragmatic breathing) is a great tool to add to effective stress management. Taking time to breathe deeply for a few minutes is a free and easy to learn method to take you out of the fight or flight zone and into a zone where you can think more clearly and not experience those side effects. You can Google “deep breathing” or “diaphragmatic breathing” to start learning a technique that really helps most people. You can find mobile apps to help (for example the Breathe2Relax or the Virtual Hope Box app – both are free and evidence-based) or watch videos online that can walk you through it. These are skills that not only help you now, but can assist you throughout your entire life (for example, dealing with road rage, poor customer service, annoying family). You can also disrupt the fight or flight response in the moment with just a minute or two of intense exercise (for example, push-ups, jumping jacks or walking up and down a flight of stairs). This helps use some of the adrenalin and glucose that are released into your blood stream when you have encountered a stressor and leaves you thinking a bit more clearly. 5) AVOID PERFECTIONISM. If you are trying to do things perfectly or get an A+ on every assignment, you may actually be hampering your success. When we want to be perfect, sometimes we are too nervous to get started. Below, I will list a variety of anti-perfectionism affirmations. This may sound silly, but please pick one that is meaningful to you Write it on a sticky note, a note card, or a piece of paper and post it where you will see if while brushing your teeth, working, or driving. You can even make it the image for your phone’s lockscreen. Read it out loud a few times a day, and it will slowly start to sink in. When you feel stressed about being imperfect, repeat the affirmation. You can find many more of these online (just search for anti-perfectionist affirmations), but here are several I have collected: - Nobody is expecting me to be perfect. - Only God is perfect. - The most important thing is family, and my family loves me. - My worth is not based on my achievements. - It is healthy to relax and have fun. - Everyone needs to rest, including me. - I am enough - I cannot worry about things I cannot control. - My health is more important than my performance/accomplishments. - I will give myself grace when I make a mistake. - Mistakes are growth opportunities. - I value learning more than being right. - Everyone makes mistakes. - I choose to enjoy the process, not just focus on the outcome. - Excellence is not the same as perfection. - I am more than my appearance (or grades or salary or any external marker of success). - I am doing my best and that is all I can ask of myself. - I do not have to be perfect for people to like/accept/love me. - Relationships need authentic connection, not perfection. - Perfection is unrealistic. - I accept others just as they are. - My best effort is not the same as perfection. - There's more than one "right" way to do something. - When things do not go as planned, I will adjust my expectations. - I do not have to do it all. - Having fun is not a reward you have to earn. - Slowing down helps me recharge and be thoughtful about my commitments and expectations. - Good enough really is good enough. - Done is better than perfect. - Progress, not perfection. - I am imperfect and I am still enough. Again, I am so glad you have reached out to us at BetterHelp. I see good things in your future! Best, Julie Note: If you are in crisis and feeling like hurting yourself, please call 911, go to your closest emergency department, or call the suicide hotline (the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) immediately at 800-273-8255. You could also go to their website to chat at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.    
Answered on 07/19/2022

Are attachment issues real?

Attachment describes how two people develop the relationship and how it impacts the bond between them over time. Usually, when we think of attachment issues, we think about parent-child issues. However, attachment issues are real and can affect relationships, romantic, platonic, parent-child, and professional-related. The primary factor with attachment is the person's ability to connect and form meaningful relationships with others. Studies have shown that attachment issues stem from emotional instability, primarily the feeling of fear. Fear is the driving force that causes attachment issues in romantic, platonic, parent-child, and professional related relationships.  ROMANTIC Romantic relationships are the most exciting and scary relationships of all time. When we open ourselves up to a romantic relationship, we agree to give our fragile and sensitive hearts to another person, metaphorically speaking. Many believe that the heart is the core of our entire state of being, so if someone decides to harm or destroy someone's heart, in theory, that person will die. The fear of theoretical death often stops someone from being in a romantic relationship or not giving the romantic partner their heart. Walls are built around the heart and even the person for protection, and it becomes challenging, if not impossible, to create that bond that will develop the relationship. The relationship has attachment issues.   PLATONIC Platonic relationships, or friendships, are the roots that keep us grounded in life. The fear of friendships stems from the fear of trusting and being vulnerable with another person. Friends are the people who know all the skeletons and have been there through the good and bad times. The fear of someone else having that much knowledge about us is scary. Being dependent on someone else to be the root that helps us hold things together can feel overwhelming, especially if we fear they will leave us or divulge what they know about us. Again, walls are built, and limited information is given in the friendship, and the relationship never develops.  PARENT-CHILD Parent-child relationships are the most common suffering from attachment issues. This is usually caused by a neglectful or abusive parent or a child being adopted. In either scenario, the child fears trusting that the parent will be there for them or do what is best for them. Trusting someone to provide all basic life necessities and more is the highest level of trust that you can give. When this trust is broken, the fear of an unsafe livelihood becomes the only constant we feel and know. Metal walls with barbed wire fences become a security blanket, and the development of any future relationships becomes questionable.  PROFESSIONAL RELATED In our professional world, we have to build relationships with supervisors, colleagues, and associates. There has to be a trust that everyone is working towards a common goal. The fear of sabotage, job loss, or inadequacy can prevent the development of these relationships. Attachment issues can disrupt the entire workplace. 
(LPC, LMHC, NCC)
Answered on 04/28/2021

How mindfulness helps students?

Mindfulness has many great components that would help a student in their studies.  Many of the problems that students face when it comes to items like studying, completing assignments in a timely fashion, and handing high world work can be improved by applying mindfulness skills. Let us take a look at each problem area a study may face: Study: what are the barriers that students typically face with trying to study?  Most common issues include items like distractibility, difficulty with concentration, and feeling overwhelmed.  A common principle of mindfulness that would help is the practice of being present-centered.  Despite this sounds easy in theory; it takes much practice to be competent in this area but is highly effective once conditioned to focus on living in the moment.  This will help to minimize distractibility and improve concentration.  Deep breathing is a common practice of mindfulness, which will help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, and it also brings a sense of calmness to help support better concentration. Completing assignments: It is commonly known that students tend to procrastinate quite a bit, which affects their ability to complete the assignments and can also lead to some self-deprecating feelings and unnecessary/unrealistic expectations.  Teaching the practice of non-judgment will help alleviate unnecessary self-deprecating thoughts, making it more challenging to focus on completing assignments.  It is hard to focus on work if your thoughts are being consumed with automatic negative thoughts.  If students can implement more non-judgmental practices, they will be less likely to procrastinate. They won’t be avoiding the internal shame they feel with not meeting an unrealistic standard they have set for themselves.  Handing in quality work: Another concept is “one mindfully,” which is where you focus on one task at a time, and you fully engage in the one task.  We live in a world where it is socially acceptable, even at times encouraged to multi-task.  However, studies have shown that multitasking hurts the quality of work you complete.  So, teaching your students the importance of doing something one-mindfully will support better quality work.  Although it may be challenging to convince your students to disconnect from distractions like technology and social media, it will be worth the effort if they can embrace the concept of one mindfully. Trying to implement these types of mindfulness practice with students will help your students greatly in the long run, not only with their assignments and their education overall but also with the lifelong journey into adulthood and independence.  These teachings are life skills; they will carry them beyond coursework and grades. 
Answered on 04/28/2021