Procrastination leads to depression

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Procrastination leads to depression

When you live with depression, you could have a difficult time initiating and finishing things when you need to.

Procrastination implies delaying something, usually excessively or purposefully, especially when there may be imminent consequences.

Procrastination leads to depression
Procrastination leads to depression

It’s natural to procrastinate once in a while. Maybe you waited to submit your job project until the very last minute, or you put off paying a payment so long that you earned a late fee.

Postponing the inevitable doesn’t guarantee you live with a mental health issue, but procrastination is a behavior typically encountered in persons living with depression.

Is procrastination a sign of depression?

Depression does not include procrastination as a symptom. However, some of them may have something to do with it. Unlike depression, procrastination is a behavior, explains Lauren Debiec. 

If you suffer from depression, you may find it difficult to carry out the activities you had become accustomed to, as Debiec says.

An episode of depression is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) as having symptoms such as:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • Decreased focus and concentration
  • Feelings of sadness, despair, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Sense of worthlessness or guilt
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Thoughts of death or suicide ideation

A professional psychologist  Dr. Shauna Pollard believes that these signs of depression can contribute to procrastination. Depression can be exacerbated by procrastination.

In order to avoid painful experiences, “we typically put off or avoid them with the notion that we would feel differently at a later date,” she says. Depressed people frequently exaggerate how unpleasant a task would be or underestimate how long it will take to accomplish.

According to Pollard, this can lead to a vicious cycle of procrastination and melancholy. When you’re depressed, you’re less likely to seek help or think creatively about obstacles that make the activity unpleasant.

Cognitive distortions in depression

Procrastination may be linked to negative thinking, which is typical in those with depression. Due to self-defeating ideas, depression can make it difficult to remain calm and keep going forward. 
According to Pollard, “For example, that you’ll never be good enough or you might as well give up,” he says.
Cognitive distortions are term used to describe these kinds of thinking. 
They have tendency to skew your perception of the world in more negative or pessimistic direction.
An Oakland, California-based instead marriage and family therapist, Cameron Murphey, argues that cognitive distortions might prevent you from achieving your goals. 
Instead of concentrating on getting things done, you start to wonder why you’re doing them in the first place.
As result of this “loss of concentration on goals,” he argues, “people begin to question the purpose of undertaking work.”

Emotion regulation and cognitive function

Depressed people are more likely to have negative thoughts and have a hard time controlling their emotions and completing cognitive activities.

To put it another way, you may find it difficult if not impossible to focus on anything but your bad emotions.

As a result, procrastination may appear on your part.

Many people who suffer from depression find it difficult to plan even the most simple acts. As a result, people with depression are more prone to avoid tasks that provide these cognitive challenges, which makes it difficult for them to complete tasks.

What procrastination is not

There’s nothing wrong with procrastination in depression, but it’s not the result of laziness or indifference. Symptoms such as fatigue, low motivation, brain fog, and pessimistic thinking.

Is procrastination an avoidance behavior in depression?

It is possible to cope with stress by employing an avoidance approach, often known as avoidance coping.

Procrastination is a short-term method for coping with the demands of one’s responsibilities.

‘Avoidance can be a useful coping mechanism in the near term. Pollard advises delaying or canceling difficult events when feeling overwhelmed.

She does warn, though, that avoiding situations out of chronic fear would not have the same positive effect.

Everyone, but especially those who suffer from depression, should avoid procrastinating at all costs, she argues. ‘Chronic procrastination can lead to unfavorable effects in your professional and educational endeavors, relationships, finances, health, and personal aspirations.’

Can procrastination cause depression?

Potentially. Even if procrastination can lead to depression, Murphey argues that it’s more commonly the other way around.

“It can feel like a chicken and the egg dilemma since it’s not always clear which occurred first,” he explains.

Recent German studies Research from 2016 show that procrastination is linked to increased stress, exhaustion, depression, and anxiety symptoms, especially when it comes to one’s job and income.

Procrastination isn’t just a symptom of depression, of course.

Procrastination has been connected to a number of mental health issues, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • Fear of critique or evaluation
  • Dislike of the task
  • Length of the effort
  • Low task aptitude
  • Fear of failure
  • Dependence
  • Learned helplessness
  • Perfectionism
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Lack of persistence
  • Negative self-evaluation


Putting off doing something is known as procrastination. Everyone can procrastinate, and it’s not a symptom of any mental illness.

Some indications of depression, on the other hand, can make procrastination more likely for those who suffer from it.

Negative emotions and procrastinating tendencies can be perpetuated by a lack of energy, cognitive changes, and the inability to regulate one’s emotions.

Procrastination may be less likely if you receive depression treatment, receive positive reinforcement, or use accountability measures.



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