Nowadays, it seems like everyone is in a hurry. Everywhere you look, people are rushing around trying to get things done. I don't think anybody can honestly say that they enjoy being in a hurry or that they prefer feeling stressed over feeling calm. However, for some reason, we often find ourselves in a rush. Why do we willingly put ourselves through this desperate panic on a daily basis? By taking a closer look at hurrying, perhaps we can break free of this unconscious cycle and prevent it from negatively affecting our lives in the future.
First of all, hurrying is not always a bad thing. We have to recognize that there are some very legitimate reasons to hurry. For example, if you are enjoying a day at the beach and you learn that there is a tsunami heading your way, then you really need to get inland in a hurry. Another example would be if you are pregnant at home and you notice that the contractions have begun. In this case, you need to hurry up and get to the hospital, right now! However, with the exception of life or death predicaments, hurrying is a completely unnecessary inconvenience. In fact, 99% of all hurry can be avoided simply by leaving the house earlier.
As a responsible adult, you will be called upon to show up at certain places at specific times. Whether its going to a dentist appointment or showing up to work, it's always best if you get there on time. Whether or not you leave the house with just enough time to get there, or with plenty of time to spare, is completely up to you- you create your own reality. It depends on whether you want to be nervous and frustrated on the way, or if you want to feel calm and content on your journey. We need to become aware that we are the ones making the choice to hurry. By not leaving the house on time, we are actively sabotaging our happiness and health.
So, why do we do it? My theory is that we must unconsciously enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies our hurried state. In other words, we do it for the rush. Think about the last time you were in a hurry. Your heart rate increases. Your blood pressure goes up. Adrenaline and cortisol are flowing through your veins, causing you to feel focused and alert. If you need to drive to get to where you are going, which is often the case, you will have to drive your car as fast as you can, mentally pushing the cars in front of you along, as if the force of your angst will somehow make the traffic move quicker. If the car in front is going too slow for you, your emotions quickly turn to anger as you begin shouting at the driver through the windshield, unleashing a barrage of insults on this "idiot."
The point is that it doesn't have to be this way. By bringing awareness to our tendency to cause stressful situations and then react to them, we can begin to move beyond emotional reactivity and towards conscious mastery. Hurrying is a choice we make and so is being stressed out. Even if you are in a hurry, you are capable of moving quickly without letting it affect you emotionally. Driving fast doesn't mean that you also have to be gripping the steering wheel, freaking out on the inside. In fact, it's easier to go fast without all the urgency and anxiety getting in the way. So, the next time you find yourself in a hurry, ask yourself if all the stress and nervous energy is actually helping you move faster. Then take a deep breath, drop the panic, and continue on in a calm and collected manner. Maybe you will be late, maybe you won't. But, at least you won't be showing up at your destination all frazzled and out of balance.
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being.