Being in a hurry is a mental state. And in today’s modern world, it is perhaps the biggest issue that stands in the way of a peaceful, joyful life. In earlier times, other concerns took precedence, like the common threat of physical violence, but today we are living in the safest time ever, despite what you may think when watching the news. But at the same time, the modern worker is facing the most stressful time ever.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Whenever you are in a hurry, you are generating stress in your mind and body because it’s a state of inner conflict. You are here, but you want to be there. We have an enormous amount of evidence today about the damaging effects of chronic stress in our lives. It contributes to numerous diseases: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, a weakened immune system, anxiety disorders, and many more. It seems like we see new articles about it every day.
Hurry slows you down
Stress mentally impairs you because it triggers the flight and fight response of your body which decreases the blood flow to the brain to pump more to the muscles. Thus your brain can only operate at a reduced capacity. Being in a hurry is a trigger for stress so if you’re constantly worrying about the time or the next task then you are constantly working with a limited brain. Poor concentration and focus becomes the norm, so much so that you don’t even think that there is a problem. You think that you are being effective by hurrying but you are not.
Real effectiveness comes from stillness. Because creativity comes from stillness and to be truly effective, you need to tap into that creativity. The vast majority of us are problem solvers, we are knowledge workers and problem solving is a creative process. You can perhaps stack boxes twice as fast if you are in a hurry but you will not solve a knowledge problem twice as fast with the same approach.
Have you ever had the experience of being stuck on a problem while grasping for a solution? You keep going at it hard, and you are not getting anywhere. Then you take a break or give up and do something entirely else. Maybe take a walk outside, listen to some music, take a shower. And out of nowhere, suddenly you get an “Aha!” moment, a great idea that brings a solution or the next crucial step towards solving your problem. This is natural, and this is what happens when we let go of “hurry” thoughts unconsciously, though there is also more going on in this process. However, this can be cultivated consciously by letting go of the sense of hurry whenever it comes up.
If you are thinking of the time or the next task when you are working on the current one, then you are not really there. You are not giving your full focus to the current task, and therefore your capacity to accomplish it effectively diminishes. The resulting quality will be reduced as well.
Overall, you are not only facing the detrimental effects of stress due to the hurried mental attitude, but you are also losing in terms of effectiveness. It is a lose-lose situation.
Steps towards a solution
It can be challenging to stop hurrying and eliminate this great source of stress because it has become a deeply ingrained unconscious pattern in our busy modern lives. The real issue here is the lack of awareness first and foremost, which requires some mental training. A lot of people know that training their physical bodies is important, but fewer people put the same level of attention to training their minds.
Try to notice and catch yourself when you are in a hurry. When you become aware of this, stop and identify what kind of sensations does this trigger in your body. Do you feel an uneasy feeling in your stomach? Or is it something else? Then take a few deep breaths and breath into and with that feeling. Tell yourself that everything will be ok, and re-focus on your task in a slightly more relaxed manner.
The practice of meditation helps in training your mind over time, to be able to do this kind of introspection and self-awareness more easily and naturally. A simple way to get started with this is the Headspace app. Daily prayer is also helpful because over time it provides an anchor that promotes a sense of calm and peace in your life that dispels the feeling of hurry.
What is your experience with this? Are you rushing from one task to the next? Do you feel stressed all the time? What have you tried to change? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.