Habitually Postponing Things Can Lead To Heart Problems – Procrastination Is The New ‘Silent Killer’

Your heart may have yet another silent enemy: Procrastination. A new study has discovered that habitually putting off things or rescheduling can lead to heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

People who are prone to procrastination seem to have a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, suggests a study. Conducted by a team led by psychologist Fuschia M. Sirois from Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada, the research seems to clearly imply that negative personality traits, especially those linked with punctuality and competency can have an adverse effect on mental as well as physical health.

Though previous studies that have suggested that procrastination is linked to a range of stress-related health problems, including headaches, digestive issues, colds and flus, and insomnia, the team wanted to see if longer-term health effects were also associated with the trait. Incidentally, the team also realized that those prone to procrastination often self-reported poor health, while many often complained of heart troubles.

The team defined procrastination as a “personality trait” – not just an annoying habit – when unnecessary delay and avoidance becomes someone’s frequent response to tough or tedious tasks that lack an immediate reward. Interestingly, scientists even have a standardized “General Procrastination Scale” which is a widely used measure of procrastination as a personality trait that tests a person’s level of procrastination in a series of hypothetical scenarios.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers gathered 980 volunteers, splitting them into two groups. One was “healthy” and the other consisted of those who had a known history of hypertension and/or cardiovascular disease. As expected, the team found a link between those who procrastinate habitually, and those who have been diagnosed with heart conditions.

Why is procrastination a “silent killer”? There is a two-fold reason, explained Melissa Dahl,

“People who are habitual procrastinators may be likely to put off dreary chores like exercising or eating healthily, and the avoidance of these can of course lead to chronic health issues, like heart disease.

And, as anyone who’s ever procrastinated on anything knows, people who put undesirable tasks off still, eventually, have to actually do those tasks – and when they do, they’ll be under more stress than necessary, because they’ve allowed themselves less time to get the thing done. Stress, and its detrimental effect on the body’s inflammatory responses, can also contribute to heart disease.”

Procrastination has always been the bane of any office, however, this research suggests those who practice the fine-art of skilfully putting off things for “later”, are hurting their heart, not just the company.

[Image Credit | Mru Patel]