Much of what we do day to day is a product of an obligation. These responsibilities are frequently linked to 1 or more different obligations which may or may not be related to the present task your working on (or plan to be working on). Sound confusing? I am talking about procrastination! This is what we put off the things we know we really should be doing, so we engage in a different, less strenuous activity. When we procrastinate, we are engaging in a coping mechanism called “displacement”.
Sublimation comes in when we use this displacement for creative means. Sublimation is when displacement “serves a higher cultural or socially useful purpose, as in the creation of art or inventions”, according to Wade and Tavris. Instead of fixing the kitchen sink, i may opt to paint my masterpiece, or start writing my novel. This action can be used the other way around if, say, what I really loathe is the idea of starting work on my novel or my art masterpiece. In this case I may find myself fixing my sink which has been waiting to be fixed for weeks.
Procrastination may come in the form of watching TV, exercising, playing video games, etc. These forms of relaxation are acceptable and may very well be effective in reducing your stress levels if you are having a really hard time and are feeling extremely stressed. My question is, would it not be better to use this procrastination to get important things done? I would bet often when we get things done, we are actually avoiding some other task we would like to avoid (see: procrastination). This redirection of your energies is usually an unconscious process; we are not even aware that we’re avoiding a different task. My suggestion is for you to learn to be aware of this process when it is happening and use it to GET THINGS DONE! More to come, check back soon on my Feeling Better Blog.