A recent study published in JAMA Network Open indicated that procrastinating can eventually result in worse health, including anxiety symptoms, irregular sleep patterns, and even pain.
Procrastination is the act of delaying your schedule and important tasks. If you wait until Monday morning to begin writing your final essay — which is due on Monday night — you might not produce the kind of high-calibre paper you were hoping for.
When life gets hectic, it's simple to find yourself putting things off and pushing back your plans to take a break. But if that ritual becomes a habit, procrastination might become a way of life.
Ober 3,500 college students from Sweden participated in the study which discovered that procrastinating can result in a wide range of negative outcomes, including mental and physical difficulties.
"I was surprised when I saw that one," Stockholm's Sophiahemmet University clinical psychologist Fred Johansson was quoted as saying by Health News.
The researchers monitored the students for nine months to discover if those who procrastinated experienced health issues. Overall, procrastinating students were more prone to stress, anxiety, despair, and lack of sleep.
"People who score higher on procrastination to begin with … are at greater risk of developing both physical and psychological problems later on," remarked study co-author Alexander Rozental. "There is a relationship between procrastination at one-time point and having these negative outcomes at the later point."
Since the study was observational, scientists are unable to conclusively demonstrate that the participants' health problems were caused by procrastination alone. Procrastination, however, has previously been linked to health problems in prior studies.
Despite the fact that procrastination isn't thought to be a severe problem, the study argued that it might eventually prompt more extensive research. It is difficult to determine whether procrastination causes health problems or if people with health issues procrastinate, according to Johansson.
A Swedish version of the Pure Procrastination Scale was used to ask the study's participants to rank their procrastination levels.
One being "extremely rarely or does not represent me" and five being "very often or always represents me," students were asked to rank themselves on a scale of one to five. There were five items or statements in the study, for a total of 25 points.
Throughout the study, they were also evaluated for 16 self-reported health outcomes, including general health, pain, lifestyle variables, psychosocial factors, and mental health issues.
The observational study came to the conclusion that procrastinating did, in fact, result in worse health, which includes pain, unhealthy life habits, and more. Although it can be easy to put things off, especially in college, it is crucial to establish a routine and attempt to strictly follow it.
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