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Dealing With Anxiety: What to Do When You Keep Procrastinating, Obsessing, or Avoiding

Dealing with anxiety involves also dealing with a wide range of behavioral patterns. There are many types of anxiety disorders but also, many common symptoms. These often include:

  • Loss of focus
  • Poor concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Racing thoughts
  • Out of control worry
  • Procrastinating
  • Obsessing
  • Avoiding

Obviously, none of these symptoms is easy to manage. The last three on the list bring with them a unique set of circumstances.

Anxiety-Induced Procrastinating, Obsessing, or Avoiding

Anxiety speaks to us, 24/7, via our inner voice. It tells scary stories about what might happen. Anxiety conditions us to dread uncertainty — even though uncertainty is a fact of life. This paradox leads to:

  • Feeling stuck in neutral
  • Unwillingness to delegate or ask for help
  • All-or-nothing/black-and-white thinking
  • Conjuring up worst case scenarios
  • Negative predictions, in general
  • Erratic self-image

When anxiety provokes procrastinating or obsessive behaviors, you become quite adept at excuse-making. These excuses are used to “explain” why things could never work and therefore, the only “logical” decision is to not even try. Dealing with anxiety can make you a master of disguising self-sabotage as self-care. At worst, we chalk up to perfectionism.

Are you experiencing symptoms of anxiety? Take our anxiety quiz to learn more. 

What to Do When You Keep Procrastinating, Obsessing, or Avoiding

Learn ways to deal with anxiety when you can't stop procrastinating

1. Identify Them As the Symptoms They Are

If you injured your knee, you wouldn’t be taken aback by a temporary limp. It’s a normal symptom. With this in mind, it’s super helpful to identify procrastinating, obsessing, or avoiding as your norm for dealing with anxiety. They are not reasons to disparage yourself. Rather, they are an opportunity to recognize and address a need for healing.

2. Set Short-Term and Realistic Goals

View this sort of like hitting the reset button on one of your devices. Shut things down and try again with a new approach. Lowering the stakes has the potential to lower the anxiety. Attaining these more realistic goals has the potential to make procrastination a thing of the past.

3. Embrace the Concept of Trial and Error

Scientists don’t fear failure or worst case scenario. Their style is based on learning from mistakes and then coming back stronger. Take “failure” out of your vocabulary and replace it with “test” or “practice.”

4. Find Role Models to Inspire You

A powerful method for challenging a fear of failure is to learn from others. Find stories of people who have dealt with anxiety. More specifically, seek out the biographies of those who have overcome the procrastinating, obsessing, or avoiding that anxiety induces.

5. Take Daily Tech Breaks

It’s never been easier to procrastinate, obsess, or avoid. We all carry around a mini-computer that is more than capable of holding our attention. On top of that, staring at tiny screens is now considered normal and perhaps even a sign of “productivity.” Take social media breaks. Turn off your phone for a certain amount of time each day. Use that time to quiet the internal noise and make progress on your to-do list.

When Dealing With Anxiety, Do Not Go it Alone

It sounds like a catch-22. You’re dealing with anxiety. As a result, you experience procrastination and avoidance. How then do you get help? It starts with a single phone call or email. Reaching out to a therapist is that first step. From there, you have yourself a teammate. You also have found a safe space to discuss what currently has you unable to make a move.

Weekly counseling sessions allow you to work through the scenarios that have you stuck on pause. New perspectives lead to new approaches and thus, new results. At Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX we have qualified therapists that specialize in treating anxiety. Call us at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online. Don’t go it alone with anxiety. Ask for help and become a confident doer.

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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