Procrastination Is Bad For Your Heart, New Study Shows, So Don't Put Off Breaking This Terrible Habit

Procrastination is obviously bad for you, in that it keeps you from getting what you want out of your life. But the risks of a procrastination habit run even deeper: new research suggests that procrastination is bad for your heart. If that isn't enough reason to beat procrastination now, then you probably never will.

The study, which was led by researchers at Bishop's University in Quebec, used a questionnaire to assess the relationship between participants' propensity to procrastinate, how they coped with that tendency, and heart health. After controlling for some other relevant factors (like personality and demographics), the researchers found that “procrastination was more strongly associated with maladaptive coping behaviors in participants with [heart health problems] than the healthy controls."

Although this isn't quite the same as proving that procrastination straightforwardly causes heart problems, it does mean that procrastination can't be helping your heart, and that if you have a procrastination problem, it will keep you from dealing with your heart health (and maybe other) problems in a constructive way. Does that minor paperwork issue or errand ever become easier or more fun if you put it off? Of course it doesn't.

The extra bad news is that your response to stress is genetic, so the way in which your procrastination affects you physiologically may be largely pre-determined. And it's no joke, because in addition to distracting you from the things you should actually be doing, stress can make your pain feel worse.

The good news is that if you set your goals correctly and remain realistic about habit formation (and reformation), you can make meaningful change in your personal life over time — and it may improve your heart health in the process. The same habits which will improve your heart health directly (like getting enough sleep and exercise, and eating healthfully) are likely to help you exercise your limited willpower effectively towards those tasks you're procrastinating, too.

Image: Fotolia; Giphy