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  • Writer's pictureStacey Crescitelli

The Paradox of Inaction: Why NOT Doing Something Can Be Harder




In the perennial debate between action and inaction, it is commonly believed that not doing something is the easier option. However, when it comes to changing habits and routines, resisting the urge to act can often feel more challenging and overwhelming. This paradox raises the question: which is truly harder, doing something, or not doing it? Let's delve into the science behind this phenomenon.


In the Myth of Inaction's Ease, the common belief is that not doing something is easier. For example, choosing not to eat dessert seems simpler than resisting the temptation to indulge. See what I did there? 😉


This leads us to The Complexity of Habit Formation. Habits are automatic behaviors, actions we perform without conscious effort. Disrupting habits requires conscious effort and willpower. An example could be checking social media constantly. (Have you given this a try recently?)


There is a cognitive load of inaction, a psychological burden of sorts. The constant resisting of impulses can be mentally exhausting. The cumulative effect of making numerous decisions NOT to act can create decision fatigue. Example: procrastinating on tasks creates mental stress and anxiety. So, why do we do this to ourselves? 🤔


Contrary to popular belief, not doing something can be surprisingly difficult, especially when it involves breaking habits and resisting impulses. Understanding the cognitive and neurological factors at play can help us develop strategies to overcome the challenge of inaction and make positive changes in our lives. So, the next time you find yourself struggling to resist a temptation or break a habit, remember that the path of inaction is not always the easier one. But, we can do hard things. As sentient beings, we have agency to implement change, even if it takes time and intense effort. When we understand the science and the psychology around WHY some things are harder than others, it affords us an opportunity to extend grace to ourselves. Ridiculous grace, fueled by radical curiosity....


Stay tuned for more, as I am excited to take you along on my journey into Affective Liminal Psychology, an immersive weeklong event that I will be attending in Tampa, Florida, next month....until then...be well, and stay curious....🪷



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Amanda Foster
Amanda Foster
2월 28일

Love this xxx

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