Beating Anxiety and Procrastination to Achieve Academic Success
Achieving academic success as a student involves hard work, dedication and self-discipline. It also involves temporary abstinence from certain pleasures when engaging in higher priority academic tasks, such as study projects or preparations for a new day at the university. Beating procrastination is essential if one is to succeed at getting the planned things done and become a top student in the class. Psychology experts reveal that the concept of procrastination is simple, and derives from our human nature. Students tend to put off performing things that require a lot of attention, focus and sustained effort because of the anxiety associated with starting such tasks. The brain has a tendency to prefer simpler, less stressful tasks that bring instant pleasure and relief because they are easily accomplished. Psychologists believe that beating procrastination really involves a battle between achieving temporary rewards or pleasure and overcoming the anxiety associated with a more complex or challenging task with long-term benefits.
Beating Procrastination can be achieved by Training and Strengthening Your Mental Toughness
Since anxiety is the key concept in procrastination and engaging in tasks that require discipline and prolonged effort, the answer is to control it and not allowing it to influence your daily academic decisions. How can one achieve mental toughness and enhanced self-control? The psychologists working in the military field have tried to develop a basic set of tools for military Special Forces who engage in dangerous, highly stressful missions that require controlling anxiety, panic and putting sustained effort into the task. For example, the US Navy SEALs, which stands for Sea Air and Land missions, or the British SAS special forces (Special Air Service regiment) use several multi-step basic mental training methods that help them achieve mental toughness, beat procrastination and accomplish high-priority tasks by controlling the anxiety associated with starting them. Special Forces from other countries have similar techniques and they continuously use the help of psychologists to help them overcome fear and stay focused amidst multiple threats.
Multi-Step Mental Toughness Technique to Beat Procrastination and Control Anxiety
* Goal setting. Although everyone knows that setting goals is important, few know how to actually implement it. Military psychologists believe that individuals tend to become fearful and anxious when they think about a large, high-priority goal and may tend to put off its accomplishment until forced by the circumstances, such as the deadline for a project or an exam. Instead of thinking about building a wall, try to concentrate on laying each brick as perfectly as possible. Breaking a large goal into smaller, achievable components diminishes the anxiety and helps beat procrastination. Dwelling on the idea of a stressful exam is certainly anxiety provoking, but thinking about how to finish reading only one chapter in the textbook is mentally easier for you.
* Mental visualization or continuous rehearsal. If your daily academic routine is stressful and involves many actions and classes, mental rehearsal can help greatly in your academic endeavors. Every morning try to visualize your path and your actions before actually doing them. When presented with a well-defined, rehearsed plan, the brain tends to reduce panic, mobilise some hidden mental resources and approach the situation in a calm and constructive manner.
* Positive self-talk. You probably know the power of words and how one can motivate you to accomplish great things. How about the power of your own words? Few people encourage themselves, however, military psychologists believe it is a great tool that can take your mental abilities to a higher level of productivity. If you choose to say positive things to yourself in stressful situations or before a highly demanding academic task, you increase your chances to succeed without too much emotional pain or panic. Replace “I am not sure” and “It’s difficult” with “I will give it a try” and “Let’s just make the first step” and you may notice a big difference in how you view each stressful situation associated with student life.
* Arousal control and managing physical symptoms of fear. When faced with an anxiety-provoking task, such as learning for an exam or a college project, the instant impulse is to feel aroused and anxious if you know that lots of sustained effort is required from you. Besides the mental signs, there are also physical signs of anxiety, such as frequent, shallow breath, pacing through the room or an elevated heart rate. Deep, deliberate breaths simulate a state of calm, and fool the brain into thinking that you don’t feel any panic or stress at all, which helps reduce anxiety and get started on your academic task in a more constructive and stress-free manner, which is more likely to yield the academic results you aspire to accomplish and obtain better grades.
Implementing these basic techniques consistently throughout the day offers a great combined tool to beat procrastination, achieve mental toughness and improve your self-confidence. Once you start using them, you will notice that they may become a habit, and you don’t need to force yourself into applying them; you may notice how these mental “tricks” convert into a positive and optimistic mindset naturally. Best of luck!