“Just don’t procrastinate”, is a lot easier said than done, especially if you have anxiety. Study tips that may help our non-anxious peers often fall flat.
Before we delve into study tips for anxiety-ridden procrastinators, let's go over some things to keep in mind.
Anxiety cannot be cured.
“Productivity” looks different for everyone.
Some things work, other things don’t.
While keeping that in mind, let’s go over the science behind studying with techniques catered towards anxious people.
Anxious sweet spot
The Yerkes-Dodson Law, contrary to the name, is more of a concept than a law. It is the relationship between stress and performance (Pietrangelo, Ann). The idea is that certain tasks require a certain amount of stress to be performed at an optimal rate.
For example, high concentration tasks require a much lower amount of stress and higher motivation while mundane tasks can require a different amount.
There are a lot of factors for this law which includes but isn’t limited to
Remember that Anxiety management techniques can only get you so far. Sometimes to be at the “sweet spot” of stress to do work it takes time and/or luck.
Understanding your Body
When in a pinch, a common solution for students is reaching for an energy drink of coffee and pulling an all-nighter. However, for anxious people, this could backfire easily.
Obviously, there are going to be times where you procrastinate to the point where you don’t feel like there is any other choice but pulling an all-nighter or just staying up really late. In these situations, the best you can do is not make the situation worse.
Cut down on the caffeine
Anxiety and other powerful emotions
For some people, homework can be the perfect way to distract yourself when facing intense emotions, but for a lot of anxious people, doing work while having a high level of anxiety may not be the smartest move.
Of course, if you have a deadline around the corner that contributes to your already high amount of anxiety and it may seem like you have no choice. But you do.
In the event that you are completely unable to NOT do the task (highly recommended to wait for a time when you aren’t extremely anxious), here are some tips to help.
Once again, the most ideal situation is to not engage in anxiety-inducing tasks while already anxious. This often results in poorer results and lowered mental health.
Tips and tricks.
Take breaks. Often.
Set a 30 min timer
The most important thing is to take care of yourself first. When you are healthy and stable, doing tasks will come easier and take a lot less time if you attempt to do them while anxious and dehydrated. Not all tips will work for you, carve time out to figure out what works for you and your body.