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Mind Your Self

Author: Marc Gravelle, Certified Hypnotherapist and HMI Instructor

Marc Gravelle

Date Published:
Publisher: Hypnosis Motivation Institute

How Hypnosis Can Improve Your Life

Procrastination - Putting it off and paying the price

We all do it. Putting off that medical exam, not paying that important bill, not returning a phone call or changing your oil or filing your taxes, until it becomes embarrassing, then costly, and then damaging to your life. And every time you do it, you ask yourself, "Why do I put myself through this? I know better!" But still you know you'll do it again and again!

Pain and Pleasure

To truly understand why we all procrastinate, we need to revisit our old friend Sigmund Freud. Freud was the first to recognize that we all operate, with no conscious effort under the dictates of the "Pain/Please" principle. It's what we usually refer to as "human nature". We seek pleasure (or pleasurable experiences) and we avoid pain (or discomfort, both physical and psychological). And since the tedious and unpleasant tasks listed above offer no pleasure and, in some cases, at least a little discomfort, we procrastinate. We are simply avoiding some perceived pain or fear, and unfortunately, the very act of avoiding itself increases our discomfort. The longer we avoid the task at hand, the stronger the avoidance becomes.

So how do we overcome this built-in behavior? Use self-hypnosis to alter your perception of the pain or fear.

Chip Away At It

Much of the time, the avoidance is a perception that the task, whether it's opening the mail, doing the dishes, or paying the bills, will simply take too much time and energy. The best way to deal with this kind of procrastination is to chip away at it. Yes, you may have to force yourself to do it, but only for a brief period time say, fifteen or twenty minutes and then take a break. And be serious about it, use a kitchen timer to make sure you take a break, and then resume the task for another short, set time period.

You'll find that you actually perceive the task as less painful and you'll do more. Which, reversing the "stuck in reverse" trend, will make the next 'session' even easier. So even if you never look forward to paying bills, you no longer put it off until they threaten to turn off the electricity or throw you out of your home.

Sometimes the source of the avoidance is more serious than just avoiding tedium or expending energy. It can stem from fear, like the "worst case scenarios" you dream about (in nightmares!) when it comes to doing a tax return or taking a medical exam. In these cases, you need to be more stern with yourself, and consciously project how much worse it will be (disease, financial ruin, even death!) if you don't face up to your fear and do what needs to be done. Then you can get about the business of breaking those tasks into "bite-sized bits" and beating procrastination cold.

Hypnosis Can Make It Work

Where does hypnosis come in? When talking to yourself still doesn't work its magic, as it often will, a competent hypnotherapist can help. Hypnosis can actually make you more receptive to these successful techniques, by making you less sensitive to the task itself, by reducing the amount of pain, fear, or discomfort the tasks represent.

Then the same techniques for overcoming procrastination can work or work even better. You'll find the "anxiety reaction" can be replaced with a "relaxation reaction", and you'll find yourself not only accomplishing a great deal more, you'll actually be calm and happy while doing it!

Try chipping away at your putting-off, and see what happens, and use hypnosis to help when you need it!