Are you always in a rush to get something done or be somewhere? Do you spend your days playing “catch up” but feel you are always a “day late and a dollar short?” If so, you’re in good company. As a society we seem to be stuck in “fast forward.” There is actually a name for this condition: it is called hurry sickness, a term first coined by cardiologists back in the 1950’s.


The symptoms are easy to spot—are any of these familiar?


  • Being unable to go to sleep or waking up through the night because your head is in a whirl about what has to get done the next day


  • Eating breakfast and gulping coffee in the car after the morning scramble to get ready for work and the kids off to school


  • Leaving home at the last possible second and then fuming though “rush” hour traffic you hope will move fast enough to get you where you are going on time


  • Talking non-stop on a cell phone: in the car while driving; in restaurants during a meal; in stores while shopping; walking down the street and even during a visit to a public restroom


  • Spending weekends hurrying from one errand and activity to another, trying to cram in everything you did not have time to do during the week.


The question is, how long can any of us maintain such a pace? We keep racing through our days and weeks until one day it dawns on us how much time has slipped by virtually unnoticed. Or, we may finally hit a "speed bump" such as an accident or illness that stops us cold. It is only then we begin to realize the heavy toll we have paid to travel in the express lane. The pace at which we live today is literally making us sick—we may have become so entrenched in the daily rat race we "don't have time" for friendships, having fun, hanging out or relaxing. Relaxing? When would there ever be time for that?

Are you tired of living like this?  Is now the time to take stock and be willing to live a less complicated life? Although you may not be able to see alternatives, the truth is the pace you are living is a choice you are making. What can you do to change things?  Here are four ways to get started:

Re-evaluate – How vital is your present lifestyle? Do you have to live how and where you are? Might it be a good idea to move to a home closer to work with less maintenance? Maybe it’s time to take a hard look at your job and make a decision to do something else or stay at home. What is absolutely necessary? What is most important to you? What can you live without?

Brainstorm Your Options – Even if you think there is no way out or any way you can lighten your load, the truth is there are always possibilities. Are you absolutely certain you have thought of everything?  Two heads are better than one, and several heads are even better at solving problems and generating ideas. Seek out others in similar situations who are managing to live less stressful lives and ask how they worked it out. They may offer solutions you have never considered.


Let Go of Problems That Are Beyond Your Control - When the world seems to be spinning out of control our natural inclination is to hang on tighter. Some things are simply going to be out of your hands no matter what you do, so stay focused on what you can control, not what you can’t.


Allow Yourself an Occasional Time Out - Have coffee or lunch with friends; read a good book; play golf; get a facial or a massage; or  go shopping and treat yourself to something you really want. The mental rejuvenation is worth far more than any time you think you may have lost.


What is really important is cutting unnecessary activities and tasks out of your life. Once you are able to do this, instead of continuing to live in a state of “hurry sickness,” you are likely to find yourself living in more of a state of “leisure wellness.”



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