Delayed life syndrome: what is it and how to get rid of it

  1. What is delayed life syndrome?
  2. Why is delayed life syndrome bad: theory
  3. Why is delayed life syndrome bad: practice (several typical scenarios)
  4. How to get rid of delayed life syndrome?

Delayed life syndrome , as a rule, is not considered a mental or psychological disorder, although it can lead to them - to neuroses, depression, etc. Of course, this condition is not always accompanied by such consequences, but even without this it can seriously ruin the lives of those who are susceptible to it. Our article will tell you exactly what deferred life syndrome is in psychology and how to deal with it.

What is delayed life syndrome?

Delayed life syndrome is an attitude towards reality in which a person thinks that real life has not yet begun for him. He treats her in much the same way as a teenager who is preparing to become an adult and independent. As a rule, a person prescribes a certain turning point, after which everything should change dramatically for the better. This could be moving, buying a car, getting promoted, moving to another job, or another important event.

Deferred life syndrome (hereinafter referred to as “SOZ”) makes a person think that now he is only preparing for real life. He sees it as a rough draft that doesn't really matter. And this perception helps him not to worry about the fact that right now he is spending a huge amount of time on things that he really would not like to do.

Usually coolant occurs in young people who have not yet realized the real value of time. They don’t think about the fact that they are missing out on something important or losing years of their life that could be spent more productively. Awareness of this problem, as a rule, coincides with the onset of a midlife crisis - when a person suddenly realizes that youth is slipping away, and there is no longer room to put off life.

The need for psychotherapeutic support

A psychotherapist is a specialist who treats emotional and psychological disorders. Delayed life syndrome gives rise to illusions that are difficult to combat. Sometimes dependence on them is the same as on drugs or alcohol. The bright world of dreams is addictive. Not everyone can cope with the problem on their own.

Treatment with the help of a psychologist is normal, do not be embarrassed. You are ready to live happily and do not intend to delay joy any longer, so you turn to the doctor for help. Such zeal deserves respect.

How did the term come about?

The term “delayed life syndrome” (or “delayed life neurosis”) was introduced by Russian psychologist Vladimir Serkin in his 1997 work, in which he studied the so-called “northern scenario” - an approach to life characteristic of residents of northern cities with a harsh climate. They patiently They relate to difficult conditions, dreaming of how they will save money and move to a more favorable place where they can start a new life. Enjoying this anticipation, they calmly accept the fact that now their life is not so beautiful - after all, this is just a preparation for something more.

Vladimir Serkin described the essence of deferred life syndrome quite similarly and explained how this condition differs from neurosis. The scheme of a typical neurosis is described by the phrase “I want, but I can’t.” The scheme of deferred life neurosis is somewhat more complex: “I want, I can, but I don’t allow myself.”

Symptomatic picture

Psychologists call the following signs of delayed life syndrome:

  • careful preparation for a turning point and a happy future, anxious anticipation;
  • the super-value of the reference point (there is nothing more important than it);
  • treating the present as a meaningless existence;
  • feeling of constant anxiety, excitement, fear;
  • reluctance to show initiative, leadership qualities, talents, abilities, creativity;
  • lack of specific plans and goals;
  • tendency to hoarding, saving, greed;
  • searching for excuses for oneself, self-consolation.

The syndrome is said to exist when there are 3-4 symptoms observed for at least 5 years.

Signs of delayed life syndrome

This condition manifests itself in different ways. Many people live with it for years without even realizing that something is wrong in their lives. If you have an idea that you are susceptible to coolant fluid, pay attention to the presence of such alarm bells as:

  1. Constant waiting and anticipation. Notice if you tend to constantly wait for certain moments (such as lunch, the end of the work day, or vacation).
  2. A feeling that something is missing. This sign can manifest itself in small things and in quite serious matters. For example, you would like to go on a date, but you feel like you first need to lose a few pounds, get a haircut, or work on your clothing style. Or maybe you dream of moving or changing jobs, and it seems to you that then life will radically change for the better.
  3. Waiting for the end of the day or week. This is the most obvious sign of coolant. If a person simply watches the days pass by, most likely he believes that his real life has not yet begun.
  4. Waiting for the right moment. Perhaps you notice that you periodically put off important things because the right moment has not yet arrived. Many people wait for something all their lives: when they grow up, when they graduate from college, when they get a promotion, when they get married, when they can buy an apartment with a mortgage. Yes, these are important life milestones. Still, living in anticipation is not the best tactic.
  5. Inability to enjoy the present. It happens that a person’s life is going well: he received a good education, works in a prestigious position, and got married successfully. But at the same time it seems to him that this is still not the life he wants to live.
  6. Tendency to compare oneself with others. This is another sign that a person is dissatisfied with himself and current living conditions.
  7. Tendency to make excuses for oneself. The inability to admit responsibility for one’s own life may well be a sign of a life disorder. If a person blames circumstances, he may well postpone plans for self-realization until the circumstances become different.

If you find yourself with at least 2-3 of the listed signs, this indicates a predisposition to delayed life syndrome. You urgently need to change your life strategy and try to devote as much time as possible to the present moment. Of course, this is not a reason to abandon big plans. However, it is important not to just dream about something, but to do everything possible to achieve these goals today.


Since delayed living syndrome is not a separate mental illness, there is no specific diagnosis. However, you can take the test yourself to check whether you are prone to it.

You need to answer questions quickly, without thinking. The only possible options are “yes” or “no”.

Count the positive responses. If there are more than 9 of them, you are predisposed to delayed life syndrome.

Reasons for coolant

Trying to better understand what deferred life syndrome is, psychologists have found that it is not an independent mental disorder, but occurs under the influence of a number of reasons. Most often it develops in the presence of such factors as:

  • Educational mistakes. “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today” is one of the most important sayings that we all learn in early childhood. Parents and educators teach every child that everything needs to be done on time. If this simple truth is not learned in childhood, serious problems may arise in adulthood.
  • High workload. Researchers have found that OM is much more common in workaholics. They can be successful in business and even in their personal lives, but at the same time they have the feeling that real life should be different. In the depths of their souls, they dream that one day they will finish their business and go with their family somewhere, where they will finally take a break from all this fuss.
  • Diffidence. Low self-esteem can make a person feel like they are not ready or unworthy of something right now. As a result, he postpones making important decisions for the future, sincerely believing that he will be able to prepare. He will definitely learn English, lose a couple of kilograms, slightly pump up his muscles, start running in the morning and get rid of bad habits. True, he does not yet know exactly when this will happen.
  • Escape from reality. If a person is emotionally vulnerable or simply finds himself in stressful situations too often, his psyche activates various defensive reactions. One of these reactions is withdrawal from reality. A person takes care of himself, tries to ease emotional pressure, convincing himself that one day real life will come, which he can enjoy, but for now he needs to endure and work.

The last reason is present in almost all cases of coolant. It can lead a person to this state on its own, or it can act as a catalyst in the presence of other reasons.

Why is delayed life syndrome bad?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with dreaming and making big plans. This gives us motivation and helps us work more effectively towards achieving our goals. At the same time, it is important to maintain interest in today, to be able to enjoy life and have a good time with loved ones. And if you have no doubt that you are living a full life today, and your dreams do not interfere with this, then there is nothing to worry about.

If a person constantly thinks only about the future, avoiding thoughts about how well he lives today, this leads him to serious psychological problems. His productivity decreases over time, so it becomes increasingly difficult for him to work towards achieving a turning point. Guided by false priorities, such a person makes virtually no progress towards the desired goal. He loses time and opportunities, and in return only gets health and mental problems.

In addition, delayed life syndrome often masks other serious problems of a psychological nature and more. A person may suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, or an unwillingness to make major changes. But because of coolant, he turns a blind eye to these problems. It seems to him that everything is fine, and now he can work calmly, without worrying that life is rushing past at crazy speed. But the worst thing is that sooner or later you will have to realize that the “tipping point” will not come.


Those suffering from delayed life syndrome are divided into 3 groups.

  • Fanatics

At first glance, they look like completely normal, purposeful people. For the sake of a dream, they work tirelessly for many years, limit themselves in everything, eke out a miserable existence. But each time they push the point of achievement further and further. For example, I want to go on vacation to Western Europe, like everyone else. For several years I saved the required amount, but suddenly I spent it on something else, more empty. Or a new dream suddenly appeared - to travel around the world. And the circle of workaholism begins again.

  • Volunteers

Focus on other people's problems. They help everyone, are ready to lend a shoulder at any moment, are kind and compassionate. When they are reminded that they need to take care of their destiny, Fr. The reason for this behavior is the fear of taking responsibility for one’s own decisions.

  • Tactics

The most uninitiative and inactive. Due to a lack of personal resources, they choose the tactic of waiting and do nothing to get closer to the point of achievement.

How to get rid of coolant?

If, having figured out what delayed life syndrome is, you have discovered several signs in yourself, you need to immediately begin to correct the situation. The good news is that you can deal with this on your own (though there's nothing wrong with being on the safe side by seeing a therapist). To do this, just follow a few simple recommendations:

  1. Realize your dream now. People with ALS can put off plans for years, for the implementation of which sometimes one week is enough. So stop dreaming and preparing. Start from today and start taking concrete actions every day that will allow you to feel progress towards your dreams.
  2. Appreciate the present. There's nothing complicated about it. Just remind yourself that time is your most valuable resource. And this resource needs to be spent wisely, distributing it between work, self-development and good leisure. Learn to appreciate every day, starting from today (not from Monday).
  3. Think about your actions. Every action must be meaningful and appropriate. Whatever you do during the day, regularly ask yourself: “How useful am I doing right now? For whom is this important? Do I have to do this? The more attention you pay to this moment, the less time you will spend on meaningless activities.
  4. Take care of the present. Deferred life syndrome is a state in which a person completely withdraws from the present, living only with thoughts of a happy future. His life seems to be divided into two parts: the present - which does not have much meaning, and the future - beautiful, interesting and rich. If something like this is happening to you, start actively making your dreams come true and making your life more enjoyable today.
  5. Realize the uniqueness of life. A characteristic feature of people with this pathology is that many of them live as if they plan to live another life in the future. They work calmly and deny themselves the achievement of life goals, postponing it until later. To get rid of such thinking, you need to remind yourself every day that there is only one life, and today will never happen again.
  6. Take every chance. People with OZH are calm about missed opportunities, because it seems to them that the moment for self-realization and fulfillment of desires has not yet arrived. This is an extremely wrong strategy. If life presents you with a good opportunity, grab it and don’t miss it. The chance that you have today may no longer exist tomorrow, so always act according to the circumstances and do not put anything off.
  7. Plan for the present. We all love to make plans for the future: big, grandiose and promising. But not everyone is starting to implement these plans, and this is a serious problem. Therefore, it is very important to learn to plan for the very near future and follow the plan exactly.

Friends, a very important step in overcoming the postponed life syndrome is to develop the ability to correctly set goals and move in the right direction, not to put things off until tomorrow. If you want to become more effective in work and life, learn to set goals and accomplish more in less time, I recommend you the “Goal Setting” course from educational.

This course will help:

  • Not only to dream, but also to realize
  • Get inspired for new goals
  • Be more positive on the way to your goal

What does the training cost:

  • 6 lessons
  • Practical exercises and recommendations
  • Video materials
  • Graphic diagrams and tasks

You can:

  • Achieve your goals
  • Don't waste energy
  • Carry out your plans
  • Setting new standards in development
  • Fulfill your dreams

Remember, friends: the most valuable investment is an investment in yourself!


Due to the fact that nowadays many are trying to evade responsibility, it is difficult to distinguish coolant from ordinary irresponsibility. Not every person is able to fully control the implementation of all their plans and promises, but if this is not controlled at all, then the consequences will be sad.

It is important not to miss the moment when coolant occurs. Here are some of its most obvious manifestations:

  • Regular presence of life obstacles. The boss often has to listen to excuses from an employee who has not completed a task. Today he was hampered by insufficient lighting in the room, and tomorrow by the lack of a certain special tool.
  • Constant depression. Anyone who is unable to enjoy today will never be happy. Even if his salary is unexpectedly increased and his uncle leaves a large inheritance.
  • Hopes for the future. Despite the successes today, a person convinces himself that a much more serious jackpot awaits him in the future.
  • Irrational monetary policy. All the money goes to future projects that are not implemented.
  • Avoidance of responsibility. A person postpones until the last moment the moment when he will have to answer for his actions.
  • Lack of bright emotions. A person reacts to any good news with detachment, the same applies to unpleasant news.
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