Tag Archives: therapy

Short Cut to Deal with Sleep Shortage: Inflating the Count with Placebo

As the pace of society quickens, and we want to sardine as many tasks as we can into one day, short cuts and sacrifices are inevitable. Unfortunately, sleep always seems to be the unlucky candidate that gets the short end of the stick and told: “Sorry, maybe I’ll get to you tomorrow.”

Well, if these are just the facts and realities of the times, then we may have to be creative and find our own kind of placebo effect to convince ourselves otherwise, and maybe derive some unanticipated health benefits from our strapped circumstances.

Here is an example: We usually count sleep duration by erroring on the side that puts us in the category of being sleep deprived. We may be in bed 8 hours, but not all of it is quality sleep time. So, in our sleep journals, maybe we put total of 7 hours or even less to account for all the tossing and turning, aches, thinking, and, yes, procrastination. Accurate? Yes, but depressing. Realistic? Yes, but doesn’t do anything for the ‘feel good’ side of the ledger.

I want to argue that some days we should try to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If we are in the midst of a hectic period where the allotted time and hours don’t add up, then let’s skew the statistics in our sleep journals, a little bit. On the odd chance, in the odd morning, that you find yourself sleeping all the way to your alarm, with the alarm actually waking you up, but it still totals only 6.5 hours of sleep, then let’s inflate the numbers a bit. For myself, I imagine myself, and tell myself, that I could have slept another half an hour at least, if the alarm didn’t go home, then I’ll just reward myself with the bonus. I could have slept a quality 7 hours, so just give me the credit.

Will this placebo effect carry me through the day? I know I could be just deluding myself and this could actually have adverse effects on my health over the long term, but it sure feels better than fretting and dwelling the entire day over how I’m short of sleep. We can deal with the truth in therapy later on when things die down, but can we be allowed this short cut for the time being? Instead of always shorting ourselves of it, how about we go long for once? Really, I’m refreshed.

-Patrick Law

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Filed under Short Cuts, Sleep

Pushing Against the Weight of Comfort

After reading electrongasman’s comments to a previous interview on procrastination, some images suddenly popped into my mind. Perhaps they are metaphors? Maybe pictorial representations of the procrastination themes and struggles? Of course it’s open to interpretation, and I’m not even sure myself, but I’ll give it a try even though words may fall short of what I’m seeing.

There’s a boulder out yonder. It’s a hot and humid day. Within the vicinity, many people are kind of wandering around aimlessly. Suddenly, a particular person approaches the boulder and starts to lean on it. Oh gosh, that looks so good.

Within minutes this posture starts to draw the attention of the wanderers. It looks so relaxing, so comforting. Then 2, 4, 7, a countless number, took up the leaning position with sighs of immense relief when reaching the most desirable degree of recline.

And so it goes like this as time passes. And the time did pass, as evident by the distant position change of the sun. Still no movement, no stirring, as if life is more than momentarily forgotten. Not true, not true, not true. Someone moves. Maybe not yet in body, but certainly in mind. Somebody thinks about the stiffness of it all and has a small inkling to push. Just a small one. This thought is quickly quashed when considering the immense weight of the boulder itself, combined with all these people leaning against it. The person decides against pushing.

Incredible stiffness. Somebody goes beyond an inkling and into a strong urge, desire, a constant pulling to push. No. The impossibility of the potential results in only a slight repositioning of the current pose, nothing of significance. In fact, more than a few people want to push, but dreams seem to die whenever one steals a glance at a neighbour.

Finally. Finally. Finally. Someone has the vocabulary ‘catatonic’ in mind and instantly ignores whatever else and, my gosh, pushes. Oh gosh! What heaviness! The excruciating pain on the pushing person’s face! The agony! The hopelessness as all the efforts did not even register to those still leaning. The boulder remains inert and, if anything, moves slightly backward against the pusher, as if rebelling or conforming…I don’t know which.

However, all that pain, despair, and oncoming feelings of regret, just as quickly brightens into epiphany when another person decides to join in on the pushing. The boulder does not move. Most of the others are still oblivious with their leaning. It does not matter. They push, push, push. And, during intervals of recovery, look at each other in the face and grin with such appreciation and understanding that surely moves something more than boulders.

Then, a few others notice and…well….it could go either way. What do you think?

-Pat

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Filed under Procrastinator Diaries (Pat)

Arguing Against an Overly Supportive Environment (Interview with Devin)

We again welcome back Devin and thank him for taking the time to revisit us for another interview. Though our views often disagree, we certainly appreciate his concern, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Today, he doesn’t hold anything back as he confronts us directly about still avoiding and not really taking concrete steps to deal with achieving meaningful change. The transcript of our interview is below.

Patrick: Welcome back Devin. I sense you’re eager to get started and still quite unhappy with us.

Devin:

Without a doubt, without a doubt! I see that not much significant has changed here since the last time we talked. At least, not in your postings or style. However, I am starting to sense some support from a few of the comments from other readers.

Patrick: Can you offer some specific examples of what you like?

Devin:

Absolutely! These words from a couple of readers…I totally agree with and I think is exactly what a lot of you need. That kind of slap in the face, via direct words, to wake up and not just constantly balance ideas, weighing back and forth, and seemingly forever in debate and reflection.

I think electrongasman put it quite accurately when he stated: “I think that on a theoretical level a group of like-minded people exhibit the same issues as the individuals, so where’s the impetus to move the group on against the inertia and impulse of habit?”

I agree in that you are in fact aggravating the situation by drawing a group towards your writing and methods. We usually think of support groups as being beneficial and promoting a friendly environment to share and empathize. However, with procrastinators, I don’t think we should try to manufacture such an agreeable, soft, ‘it’s okay’, kind of environment. It would serve procrastinators some good if they got used to more confrontation, pressure, disagreement, and just having less choices. A discplined environment would be more effective than a overly supportive one.

Patrick: Are you saying that it’s possible this project is doing more harm than good?

Devin:

There’s a good chance of that. As electrongasman mentioned, it’s even harder to instill change among a bigger group if the group starts to feel good about maintaining their old patterns. And your site, even if not on purpose, does promote that. You are making people feel a bit too comfortable with procrastination, and suddenly they get reinforced for not changing. The danger is now the group may think they are participating in change, addressing their procrastination problems, but in fact really making things worse. Going to gatherings, having distant discussions, writing in journals, while it all amounts to quite a bit of effort, does not equate to action and change.

Patrick: Are you worried that your approach can come across as quite patronizing and scare people off?

Devin:

Excellent. I think that is needed. To stimulate urgency and fear, and that there are people who are not on your side, and that’s just reality. Listen, I’m not in the business of feelings and I don’t worry about how hurt someone may get. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not totally against support groups. But I do think the group can be more effective by holding members accountable. As electrongasman said, It would be very easy to acclimate to confession and acceptance and so relieve some of the emotional issues, but much harder to engage the pain of change.”

I get the feeling that too many here are so fixated on the ’emotional issues’ that they are not willing to activate change because it would be too painful. It’s as if the end goal is to feel better, and then leave it at that.

Patrick:

Well, this is quite stimulating, and I certainly do not want to leave our conversation at that, but unfortunately our time is up today. We have to bring you back for more, Devin, and also would like to encourgage other people with experiences in procrastination to consider coming on for an interview to maybe offer points to further support or argue against Devin? Or maybe in the future we’ll even consider having Devin and another participant on at the same time to hopefully provide interesting discussion.

Devin:

I look forward to it. Patrick, you seem to be falling more and more into the role of moderator. Wish you would argue with me a little more, and show some anger…voice it up, instead of just leaving everything in your writing…sometimes a bit too passively.

Patrick:

Hehe..it’s tempting…maybe next time. Again, thanks for making us think…or I guess….you would prefer to make us act…not think so much. See you again.

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Filed under Interview with the Procrastinators