“We are all riding on a very fast train that is traveling down a predetermined track, gathering speed as it goes, and we have been on it for a long time. Many of us want to slow down; some want to get off the train. Others are so used to the speed that they don’t notice it. The few who love speed are the only ones who get their way. Most of us stare blankly out of the window, barely seeing the world flying by and feeling helpless.” —David Kuntz, Stopping
Hurry is a great foe.
It tiptoes into our life in astonishingly subtle ways and taps us on the shoulder every second of every day through dings and dongs and dainty little alarm sounds like whistles or bells or swooshes.
It invades our lives via the world of screens, compels us to fit one more thing into our already packed schedules, and slowly drains our hearts, minds, and bodies of their God-breathed vitality.
Just today, an extra hour opened in my morning schedule. Instead of using that time as a beautiful margin of peace and quiet, I rashly decided to race to the store, which was a good distance from home, to find the perfect sweater for an upcoming holiday event.
I can do it. I can make it to the store and still make my next appointment.
As a result, I ended up in a state of overwhelm. Time flew by a bit faster than anticipated, making me five minutes late for my appointment, which ironically was a one-hour relaxation massage. As Hurry would have it, I was flustered and frazzled and frankly, quite mad at myself.
Did I need a new sweater? Absolutely not.
Did I need to fill in the white space of the margin that morning offered me? Absolutely not.
Did I like feeling flustered and frazzled? Maybe? It is a state that pumps my adrenaline, and I’ve sadly become very accustomed to it.
No wonder I have a twenty-first-century condition experts are now calling hurry sickness. Yes, hurry sickness is a real behavior pattern. The term was coined by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman in their book, Type A Behavior and Your Heart. Hurry sickness is “a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.” It is highly related to the “fear of missing out” (FOMO).
In her article, “Ten Intelligent Ways to Combat Hurry Sickness,” Paloma Cantero-Gomez, former contributing editor to Forbes, writes, “Achieving, growing and performing better in every single sphere requires hard work and time investment. Getting things done feels good and rewards our brain with a hit of dopamine.
Being busy and making full use of our talents and resources to achieve excellence is desirable. But when busyness tips over into a hurry sickness, our body starts releasing the stress hormone cortisol which can long-term cause depression. In a constant state of overstimulation, our minds make us also feel tired, anxious, prone to irritability, and unable to relax.
Time is a finite resource. And unfortunately, nonrenewable. Consequently, we end up going through life unconsciously in our busy way of running around.”
As a Heartlifter, a woman committed to leading and loving well, those last four words, “going through life unconsciously,” begged me to ask myself one critical question,
“Is your current state of personal and professional hurriedness adding value to your life?”
I came to a crystal-clear conclusion: No.
In truth, it is highly devaluing, and I feel a sense of urgency to break the pattern.
5 Intentions for Unhurried Living
With the holiday season approaching, I’m determined to embrace fierce intentionality toward unhurriedness.
I can’t keep up my current pace. It is stealing my joy and harming my sense of well-being.
I follow the 90–15 Rule. More than 50 years ago, the pioneering sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that the same 90-minute “basic rest-activity cycle” that occurs during our five stages of sleep also occurs during the day. Our bodies move from higher to lower alertness every 90 minutes and signal when we need a break. Instead of paying attention to these signals by taking breaks, we power our way through with caffeine, sugar, or other stimulants.
2. I practice healthy assertiveness by saying “no” to the Land of Overdoing and say “yes” to the Land of Being.
Focus on what brings peace and joy and stability. You might be misunderstood, but that is OK. Share with loved ones or coworkers or even your church family that you are committed to an unhurried holiday.
3. I learn to identify my “stability zones.”
Forbes magazine notes that “stability zones are places or things that make you feel safe, relaxed, and secure. They can be things, people, objects, or even ideas that protect or defend you against the outside world. Home, your partner’s hug, this cozy coffee place around the corner, or that movie that always makes you laugh are perfect places to be or regularly visit to consciously switch off and recover.”
4. I take 15- to 30-minute “digital distraction” breaks during my day.
As hard as this might be, silence your phone, turn your computer off, and intentionally detox from all screens. Inform your family, friends, and coworkers of this new practice and invite them to join you.
5. And most importantly, embrace Unhurried as your new friend.
Get to know her well. She is waiting and eager to walk this journey with you.