From time to time, we all have tasks on our plate that we just don’t want to do, and which might even stir up some fear or anxiety. Despite this, a healthy individual approaches the task head-on and finds a way to work through it, despite their negative feelings. When unresolved trauma is present, however, the nervous system becomes over-involved and, as a way of protecting oneself from these uncomfortable feelings, a person might find themselves procrastinating. Task-related fear and uncertainty can trigger two main responses: mobilization (fight-or-flight) or disengagement (shutdown). When an individual’s fight-or-flight system is activated, mobilization can take on one of two forms: mobilizing in and mobilizing out. Mobilizing in means fight-or-flight energy is used to over-engage in a task. This can appear as obsessively checking every detail. Mobilizing out means fight-or-flight energy is instead used in active avoidance of the task, causing a person to engage in busy-work activities, such as cleaning or organizing the night before a big exam as an excuse to avoid studying. Another possible response is disengagement. When this occurs, a person’s dorsal vagal nerve is activated, leading to a shutdown and a sense of collapse. Individuals who experience this might find themselves zoning out, taking a nap, or binge-watching Netflix when they have an important task to do. No matter how someone approaches anxiety-ridden tasks, compassion is important. While all of these forms of procrastination do have a negative impact, the behaviors are typically a subconscious attempt to protect oneself from overwhelming feelings. People will usually score higher on one response than the other, although in the case of complex trauma, any combination is possible.