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Why Trauma Survivors Procrastinate: Unveiling The Intricate Connection

Procrastination, the act of delaying tasks, is a familiar struggle for many. But procrastination should not be considered an ordinary issue, and most of the people who struggle with it have experienced trauma. Let’s unravel the layers of procrastination and discover effective ways to break free from its grip.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is often viewed as a simple act of delaying tasks, and some people overcome it in, like, a week, just like a phase of exhaustion. But for trauma survivors, it is a complex behavior rooted in psychological mechanisms, often serving as a coping strategy for individuals dealing with trauma; they have a continuous pattern of avoidance. Procrastination is the freeze trauma response; it is a natural reaction to stress where an individual becomes immobilized.

Link between Trauma and Procrastination

Understanding the link between trauma and procrastination is crucial. Trauma survivors may resort to procrastination as a way to navigate the overwhelming emotions and challenges stemming from their traumatic experiences.

Understanding Procrastination

Procrastination as a Coping Mechanism

Procrastination is mostly considered a bad habit, but it’s a coping mechanism. Trauma survivors may use procrastination as a means to create distance from tasks that trigger distressing emotions, providing a temporary escape.

Impact of Childhood on Procrastination

Childhood experiences play a pivotal role in shaping procrastination habits. Parenting styles play a pivotal role in shaping a child’s character and behavior. The impact of strict parents, especially when affection is withdrawn and severe punishment is prevalent, can have profound consequences, one of which is procrastination. Children raised in strict environments may exhibit hesitant decision-making and a tendency to delay actions due to the fear of potential consequences.

Trauma Response and its Connection

Procrastination often serves as a trauma response. It becomes a way for individuals to protect themselves from the fear of failure, shame, criticism, and the perpetual feeling of never being good enough.

The Protective Nature of Procrastination

Fear of Failure

Procrastination shields individuals from facing the possibility of failure. By postponing tasks, trauma survivors avoid the risk of not meeting expectations, sparing themselves from potential disappointment.

Fear of Shame and Criticism

The fear of shame and criticism is a powerful motivator for procrastination. Delaying tasks becomes a buffer against the imagined judgment and negative opinions of others.

The Never Good Enough Syndrome

Procrastination is closely tied to the deep-seated belief that you will never be good enough. Trauma survivors, haunted by feelings of inadequacy, use procrastination as a defense mechanism against the perceived impossibility of success.

How Procrastination Manifests

  • Delayed Decision-Making: Procrastination manifests in delayed decision-making, with individuals grappling with choices to avoid potential negative outcomes.
  • Avoidance Behavior: Avoidance behavior becomes a prevalent aspect of procrastination as trauma survivors sidestep tasks that trigger distress or discomfort.
  • Self-Sabotage: Procrastination transforms into self-sabotage when individuals undermine their own potential and success, further perpetuating the cycle of avoidance.

Dealing with Procrastination

  • Self-Reflection: What Does “Good Enough” Mean?

Addressing procrastination begins with self-reflection. Trauma survivors must question their definition of “good enough” and challenge unrealistic expectations.

  • Recognizing Individual Definitions

Understanding that everyone’s definition of success and adequacy is different is key to overcoming the crippling effects of procrastination.

  • Overcoming Fear of Failure

Conquering the fear of failure involves acknowledging that setbacks are part of the journey. Embracing imperfections allows for personal growth and resilience.

Breaking the cycle of procrastination

Setting Realistic Goals

Breaking the cycle of procrastination requires setting realistic and achievable goals. Small victories build confidence and momentum.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Cultivating a positive mindset is crucial to overcoming procrastination. Shifting focus from self-doubt to self-empowerment opens the door to a more productive and fulfilling life. Along with these, here are some small tips to heal from procrastination:

  1. Identifying when and what do you procrastinate
  2. Realization of what you are actually trying to avoid while avoiding the task
  3. If you are afraid of failing or making mistakes,
  4. Observing the past and realising how you were treated when mistakes made or failed
  5. Bringing awareness to your feelings of “ not being good enough “ and how they manifest in your behaviours
  6. Using music as a tool to feel through your feelings and working with trauma-informed therapists

Music and Music Therapy for healing and overcoming Procrastination

The Healing Power of Music

Music, with its universal language, serves as a therapeutic balm for the wounded soul. It possesses the remarkable ability to tap into emotions, providing an outlet for expression and release. For trauma survivors, music becomes a companion on the journey to healing.

Creating Energetic Playlists

Energetic music has the power to uplift and motivate. Curating playlists filled with high-tempo tunes can infuse a burst of energy, making seemingly daunting tasks more approachable. From upbeat pop to pulsating rock, the right playlist can be a game-changer.

Listening to Music to Boost Energy

Beyond curated playlists, the act of actively listening to music itself can be an energy booster. The rhythmic patterns and melodic structures of music have a profound impact on the brain, stirring a sense of vitality that can combat the lethargy often associated with procrastination.

Listening to Calming Music Before Tasks

On the flip side, the calming influence of slow-tempo music can set the stage for focused work. Before diving into tasks, taking a moment to indulge in soothing melodies can create a mental environment conducive to productivity.

Giving Yourself Time to Relax

Procrastination is often a sign of burnout or overwhelming stress. Here, music steps in as a relaxation tool. Whether it’s a symphony, ambient sounds, or a favorite ballad, allowing oneself time to unwind with music can break the cycle of stress-induced procrastination.

Breaking Tasks into Small Chunks

The enormity of tasks can be paralyzing. Music provides a structure for breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. Each musical interlude becomes a milestone, making the journey to completion less daunting.

Music as a Means to Explore Feelings

For trauma survivors, navigating complex emotions is an ongoing process. Music becomes a vehicle for exploration, allowing individuals to connect with and express feelings that words alone may fail to convey.

The Role of Professional Music Therapists

While self-help through music is valuable, the expertise of music therapists plays a crucial role. Seeking professional guidance ensures a tailored approach, addressing individual needs and nuances in the healing journey.Experts in music therapy at Anya Wellbeing affirm the efficacy of incorporating music into strategies for overcoming procrastination. Their insights shed light on the science behind music’s impact on the mind and emotions.


In conclusion, understanding why trauma survivors procrastinate involves recognizing the intricate connection between trauma and this coping mechanism. By addressing the root causes, individuals can break free from the chains of procrastination and cultivate a healthier relationship with productivity.  In the symphony of healing, music emerges as a powerful conductor. Experts at Anya Wellbeing  are guiding trauma survivors through the intricate notes of procrastination. By understanding the interplay between music and emotions, individuals can reclaim agency over their tasks and, ultimately, their lives.