Under the Hood

Procrastination May Negatively Affect Heart Health: The Decay Of Delay

Procrastionation
Science suggests there's no time like the present to get a handle on heart health and hypertension. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Prone to procrastination? A new study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine suggests it can hurt your heart.

Fuschia M. Sirois, a professor in the psychology department at Bishop University in Canada, led the study, administering online questionnaires to both healthy people and people with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension. Participants answered questions regarding their personality, maladaptive coping, and health outcomes. And the results showed older age, lower education level, and higher procrastination scores were associated with CVD and hypertension.

The study doesn’t explain the link between procrastination specifically and CVD, but New York Magazine’s Science of Us speculated “people who are habitual procrastinators may be likely to put off dreary chores, like exercising or eating healthy.” Obviously these two factors are essential in avoiding chronic diseases, like CVD.

Science of Us added when procrastinators do get around to those tasks, they’re now subjected to increased, unnecessary stress. While stress can be positive and motivate people to perform well, it can also be (and one might argue is mainly) negative. Stress alone has been shown to increase risk of coronary heart disease, as well as chronic headaches, depression, and promote overeating and smoking.

Separate research has shown putting something as simple as sleep aside can have adverse health effects. As Medical Daily previously reported, researchers from Utrecht University surveyed 177 people about the quality of their sleep and the ones who put off their bedtime were less likely to get quality sleep. Like stress, inadequate sleep comes with its own set of health problems; losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep each night can mess with metabolism and possibly cause obesity.

Of course, knowing you should abandon your procrastinating habits is easier than actually doing it. Science of Us cited a 2007 study that found “procrastination is a pretty stable personality trait, much like introversion or extroversion.” There are even studies that suggest procrastination is genetic. Yet as difficult as it may be to overcome, it’s not impossible.

The first step is to understand what’s causing procrastination in the first plac. When you’re able to get to the root of these habits, you make it so you can take action. But that’s not all. Click here for three more ways you can stop putting things off — and start taking care of your tasks, maybe even your heart, today.

Source: Sirois FM. Is procrastination a vulnerability factor for hypertension and cardiovascular disease? Testing an extension of the procrastination-health model. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2015.

 

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