Let's Talk It Out!
Health|October 2019
Let's Talk It Out!
Our mental health expert has tips on controlling your temper, managing worries, and more.

I struggle with procrastination. I play games on my phone or shop online when I should be working, and then stay up late finishing my to-do list. What can I do to stop sabotaging myself?

Procrastination is not laziness, so don’t be too hard on yourself! There’s probably a good reason you’re putting off your work, and figuring out what it is can be very helpful.

Does the urge to procrastinate strike later in the day? It may be that your brain is craving downtime after being “on” since breakfast. Start scheduling daily breaks that actually help you recharge, and commit to them in advance. (For example, if you enjoy restorative yoga, reserve a spot in class.) By taking intentional breaks— as opposed to zoning out in front of a screen—you’ll feel more refreshed in less time, so you can get to the end of your list sooner.

If you’re struggling with distractions all day long, try setting some limits: For instance, when you decide to check out a sale, put 10 minutes on your phone’s timer; let the ding nudge you back to your task. Do you get sucked into Facebook or Twitter? Download an app that helps you curb social media usage. Have chatty friends or coworkers? Get comfortable ending conversations politely but firmly. You might say, “I’d love to pick this back up later; I just have a few things to get done first.” As you become more productive early on, you’ll be able to take better care of yourself at night.

Every time I have a random sensation, I’m convinced it’s a brain tumor or some other terrible diagnosis. How can I escape these worry spirals?

There’s a name for having excessive concerns about your health: hypochondriasis. And dealing with it can be incredibly tricky. Your brain thinks that even small bodily quirks warrant a blaring alarm bell. But it is possible to tamp down that fear.

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October 2019