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How to Stop the Procrastination Trauma Response

"Do you feel numb, shut down, disconnected from yourself, and get stuck procrastinating?

You're not lazy. You're not unmotivated. This is a trauma or stress response."

Dr. Nicole LePera


What is a Procrastination Trauma Response

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What is a Procrastination Trauma Response? (PTR)


pro·cras·ti·na·tion

/prəˌkrastəˈnāSH(ə)n/

noun

"the action of delaying or postponing something."


Procrastination is often derived from unconscious underlying factors such as anxiety or depression, due to a trauma. When faced with a task, the fight or flight response can trigger, if we are unconscious to what is happening. This leads to avoidance behaviors that can last for a lifetime.


Procrastination is a coping mechanism. Postponing or putting things off until tomorrow may seem to allow a temporary relief of negative emotions. However, doing this often causes even more trauma at a later time.


PTR Example - The Story of Frank the Office Manager


Frank is a highly skilled office manager. He can do more work, in a shorter amount of time, than 3 of the other office managers and everyone knows it. He is great at his job and takes pride in the quality of everything he does.


Frank's new boss, Mr. Bigglesworth, takes notice. "Oh wow! Frank can do much more than I ever dreamed of and he loves it!", He thinks to himself.


Mr. Bigglesworth gives Frank a small extra task and asks, "Is this OK? I don't want to burden you too much." Of course, Franks obliges with a smile.


Over the next few months, little by little, Mr. Bigglesworth gives Frank more and more little tasks but Frank is too humble and proud to say anything. He keeps his emotions bottled up and begins working extra hours while harboring a pissed-off attitude toward his co-workers. "Why don't they have to do as much as me?", he thinks every day.


Eventually, Frank starts to procrastinate and put off the extra work. He figures there is no way he can do everything on his plate so why bother? The work starts piling up and he is eventually overrun by tasks. There is no way he can catch up now and he is too afraid to ask for help, at this point. He was too afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone.


Mr. Bigglesworth barges into Frank's office with anger and fires him for not completing his tasks and losing several clients. Frank tries to explain why but the damage is already done. Frank loses his job. The company has to hire 3 more workers to do the job. Mr. Bigglesworth loses his reputation as a great boss.


New Neural Pathways - New Personality


For the following years, Frank procrastinated almost everything because his mindset was now, "I lost my edge and don't have the skills anymore." Putting things off until tomorrow seemed to become addictive. The easiness that came with it was a temporary fix. Frank knew it but procrastinated anyway because the neurons had already started connecting in a new manner. He started becoming a different person, unconsciously.


Here is a visual representation of neurons connecting and creating new pathways.



Donald O Hebb is considered to be the “father of neuropsychology.” He was able to merge psychology and neuroscience. His famous quote, "Neurons that fire together wire together." still rings true today. 'Hebbian Theory' asserts that activity in one cell repeatedly elicits action potentials in a second cell and synaptic strength is potentiated.


This means that when a behavior happens, the remotion of it causes a physical action to occur in the brain. Nerons will un-attach and reattach to other nerons when a lifestyle is altered. When this is done unconsciously and is repeated, thousands and millions of neurons will become attached in a new way. It is very difficult to undo the new pathways.


Frank has a new Personality


Let's fast forward about a year. Since the prolonged procrastination created new neural pathways in the brain, Frank now has a new personality. He has gained 40 pounds and eats potato chips while binge-watching Netflix every day. He is on unemployment and food stamps because he procrastinated looking for a new job. His views on self-worth have diminished and he is embarrassed to talk to his mother on the phone for fear of how she might view his decisions.


Without consciously knowing it, Frank's life takes a drastic turn and he starts to blame others for his problems. He even starts to call 'Those People', "Sheeple" because everyone else is doing things he will not bow to. His anger takes over and ruins his life.


How to Stop Procrastinating


My narrative of an ancient holy saying is, "Enter through the narrow gate. It leads to life and most people don't go through it - Heck, most people can't even find it! Everyone else goes through the wide gate; the one that leads to destruction." You can look at the original words in Matthew 7:13-14 but it's true. You are about to learn how to go through the narrow gate and be conscious of your actions.


“Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone. So if you`re feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change taking place in your life is a beginning, not an ending”

Neale Donald Walsch

SHEEPLE

Remember how Frank started calling everyone 'Sheeple?' Have you ever noticed the word, 'Sheeple'? Some see this word as derogatory but the Webster's Dictionary defines it as

'People who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced: people likened to sheep.'


The earliest known use of the word was in 1945 when a man was upset that people blindly followed the government. Many times, we notice that "others" are blindly following but we refuse to admit that we are followers too. We are quick to point out the absurdities of 'those holiday shopping vultures', the nonsense from those who oppose your political ideology, or even 'those religious fanatics!'


The Musical Times Sheeple Round About Radio

It's always THOSE PEOPLE. Before we start looking at those people, let's take a look at the following quote, again from our good friend, Matthew - The Tax Collector.


"For in the same way you judge others, you'll be judged, and with the measure you use, it'll be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. "

Matthew 7:2-5


Frank was continually talking about 'Those People' and how he had been wronged. We are those people. Frank is also those people. Those people are simply a reflection of ourselves.


The Comfort Zone


How often are we doing the right thing? Are we stepping outside of the program to make our life better or are we always blaming someone 'over there?' We want to change but we also procrastinate. We have good intentions but we put it off until tomorrow. How often are we...


  • BINGE WATCHING TV: They call it programming for a reason. The more we are glued to the screen, the better!

  • SCROLLING SOCIAL MEDIA: Every proselytizer is vying for our attention with every scroll... just another 5 minutes... just another 5 minutes...

  • GOSSIPING: Most of what we talk about isn't even the truth - It's hearsay. We tell someone that tells someone that tells someone and in the end, it's a big fat lie.

  • SLEEPING IN: This is another way, we are giving into the program. Ahhh I will get up early tomorrow - just another 5 minutes, Mr. Alarm Clock.


Have you ever done what I have done?


One time, we bought a gym membership but never used it. I think I went 3 or 4 times. I didn't follow through on the commitment I made for myself. The original intent was great but when it got uncomfortable, I procrastinated because it was easier.


One time, I was going to quit smoking cigarettes. I had a plan to taper off by 1 cigarette per day for 20 days and then I would never smoke again. Welp, that didn't work. This cycle continued for years.


One time, I wanted to learn how to play the piano. The first few lessons were great and I loved it. It became a bit mundane and too slow so I slowly stopped showing up for class. I wanted to play but I eventually allowed the comfort of procrastination to take its toll.


What If?


What if we could break free from the program? What if the intentions we had for our lives were able to be accomplished because we were consciously conscious of what we were doing and made a decision to follow through? What if we crushed that boundary, broke the cycle, and went for it?


There are only 2 reasons that humans do not act:


The Past The Future

  • PAST THINKING: We are thinking of what happened in our past. Maybe it was traumatic. Maybe it was fearful or embarrassing. We are trying to avoid these emotions from being brought up again.

  • FUTURE THINKING: We are thinking about our future. Maybe it will be too hard. What if I can't do it? It will take too long. I'll never accomplish it and then I will be a failure or shamed for even trying.


HOW TO CRUSH PROCRASTINATION


“WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, THE WHOLE UNIVERSE

CONSPIRES FOR YOU TO ACHIEVE IT” — THE ALCHEMIST


When you have the thing you want written down & you are feeling the emotions of having it now, take a step of faith and walk as if you already have it. You are telling the universe, "Hi there! I'm doing it! I am expecting it. I am thankful for it."


  • STEP 1: Make the Decision.

  • STEP 2: Clear your mind.

  • STEP 3: Do it.


Step 1: Make the Decision

There always has to be a decision point in anything we do. If we want tacos for dinner, we have to decide to drive to the store and buy the ingredients. If we want to make a million dollars, we have to decide to put in the time to do whatever we know how to do - to walk as if.


Your decision, whatever it may be, needs to be stronger than your current willpower to stay comfortable. Even if the decision that you want to make is at 51% but your comfort is at 49%, THAT'S ENOUGH! All you need is to cross that 50% area to start changing your life. Once your decision is stronger than your comfort - Once you have made up your mind, "Ok, I'm doing this!" then move on to step 2 in the following video.


Step 2: Clear your mind



How do you feel? What happened in this mini-exercise? If your experience was like most others, you were surprised that your mind went absolutely blank for a few seconds. When our mind goes blank and we are aware of nothing, this is the starting point of creation. When we aren't aware or worried or thinking, the mind makes room for possibility.


Step 3: Do it.

What do you want? Open your eyes and just do something... Anything! Just get started, no matter how small.


A new car? Then go to the car lot and start browsing their selection. Don't concern yourself with price - that's practically irrelevant in the quantum field. Why not test-drive your dream car? How about comparing features? I wanted an SUV with several options so I started looking at Carvana, watching YouTube videos, and visiting car lots when I started.


Perfect Health? Take a 30-minute walk. If you can't do that, take a 5-minute walk. If you can't do that, then stand up out of your chair for a few minutes. If you can't do that, then sit on the edge of your seat and rock back and forth. If you can't do that, then mentally imagine yourself in perfect health. If you drill it down, there is always a starting point with something you can do to show the universe that you are that new person. I started my health journey with a walk around my neighborhood.


A new house? Why not attend an open house in the neighborhood that you want to live in? If your ideal neighborhood isn't easily accessible at the moment, there are a host of online streaming services and TV shows like House Hunters, Cribs, etc... I started watching 'How To' videos on building my own home before I manifested mine.


Your Dream Spouse? Maybe put on a nice smile and act as if you already have this person in your life. Look at bridal boutiques or scan the local jeweler for rings. Make room in your closet for his/her clothes. Start saving money in an account for your future honeymoon. Before I met my wife, I knew exactly what I was looking for, right down to her personality and physical features.


Fear

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED HOW FEAR WORKS? IT'S GOT A HOLD ON YOU...UNTIL YOU START.


I used to have a fear of driving in big cities. I hated it but as luck would have it, the thing I was focused on, and which I hated, became my primary source of income. I was a delivery driver - I delivered loads nationwide so I was in several major cities each week. Before many loads, I would always dread driving through places like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York City.


Even though I had fear, every time I started, the fear would subside. It's kind of like once you start, the universe says, " OK I see you are doing your part so I will make it a little easier."


Being Uncomfortable is part of the process. Watch as Matt Easton talks about what it means to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.




What does “get comfortable being uncomfortable” mean? It means that you're getting used to being in situations that are outside of your comfort zone. You might even actively pursue activities that put you outside of your comfort zone.


Once you step out of your comfort zone, this is when the magic starts.

Step out in faith and then watch as the universe

conspires to create whatever you want!


Here is a short but inspirational video about a lady who stepped outside of her comfort zone.



How to be Consciously Conscious

If we take life in stride and simply allow life to happen to us, we are acting blindly. What if we could simply pay more attention to what's going on around us? What if we simply started asking questions like:


  • Why did I just do that?

  • What can I do to fix that?

  • What if I just took the next 5 minutes and did the thing that I didn't want to do?

  • Can I create my reality?


To be consciously conscious is to be aware of the thoughts that are going through your mind. Become aware of the 60,000-70,000 thoughts per day that are streaming through your brain. If you are conscious of your thoughts, then is it possible to decide to not allow any negative thoughts to complete their journey?


Some may say, "I can't control what I think about." but I postulate that you can. I know that you can. With practice, it can get easier to control what you think about. For instance, if you see a thought coming... "I dread going to work tomorrow.", well, that's tomorrow and you can worry about that tomorrow.


Let that shit go.


So to summarize, How to Stop the Procrastination Trauma Response:


  1. Become aware that unconscious thoughts can ruin our lives.

  2. Stop Judging others.

  3. Decide to step out of your comfort zone.

  4. Clear your mind and make room for possibility.

  5. Do whatever you don't want to do without thinking about the past or future.

  6. If you become fearful, simply start and the fear will leave.

  7. Remain conscious of your thoughts.


You can do every one of the 7 things listed above. We all can. The next time you want to procrastinate, simply do this one thing and after it is done, you will feel so proud of your accomplishment. Have a beautiful day in a non-procrastinatory way!

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