Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Everyone has moments in life when doing things quickly is advantageous. But when we find ourselves feeling like everything needs to be done in a hurry it maybe time to look at this more closely; to ask ourselves why and what effect is it having on us?
What pecentage of your life do you think you're in a hurry? Have a think about the last two weeks and try to work out when you're most in a hurry. Assuming you sleep about 8 hours, of the 16 hours awake, how many do you think you feel like you're in a hurry?
Being in a rush, is it necessary or a habit?
So what’s wrong with being in a hurry or rushing around with a buzz? Ever wondered what it is doing to you? Imagine you’re in a hurry in the morning rushing to do everything needed before you leave the house. This may involve slamming doors, brushing teeth too hard, stomping up and down stairs two steps at a time, forcing food down... you get the picture. Is this a problem? I doubt it is if it's every once in a while. But when this becomes the norm or a way of life it can have long term negative effects on our mind and body or as Alexander called it our psychophysical self.
When we're in a rush, we can bypass a measured approach to whatever we're doing and go straight to extreme thrust in whatever is needed to get the job done asap. (Whether or not this is actually the quickest way is a whole other matter. For me, not usually as things get dropped, broken, forgotten or I hurt myself in the process slowing everything down, but maybe that's just me!) Using too much force in everyday activities like walking, going up and down stairs, writing, typing, driving etc. Even sitting at a desk working in a hurry or holding the steering wheel when driving will make us hold ourselves tight. Is this a problem? It can be. Using too much force to do simple easy everyday things can cause a lot of unnecessary tension and uses more energy than we need to and activates our stress hormone system. We can lock ourselves up in constant readiness never allowing the muscles to release properly from the last task to return to normal released healthy state and our nervous system remains on high alert.
As an Alexander Technique teacher, I constantly see people with overly tense muscles and muscular holding patterns that they are totally unware of but are the root cause of back, neck or joint pain and feelings of stress. These unhealthily tense, constantly holding muscles can ‘pull’ people out of shape, loosing their natural upright alignment and balance and then having to use even more muscular tension to compensate for not being as upright and well balanced as they can be.
I’ll be honest, I’ve spent a lot of my life being in a hurry. Mainly because I didn’t allow myself enough time to get from A to B. It was like I was pre-programmed to be 5 to 10 mins late for everything and I’ve been wondering why. Was I always so busy that it made being late inevitable? I don’t think so. Maybe I underestimated how long it took me to do things and I don’t think I’m alone in having these unhelpful habits when it comes to time management. I also wonder if my ‘late’ habit is just a lack of planning or if it is more to do with being hooked on the heightened sense of importance that being in a hurry gives us. Does it’s little adrenalin rush make us feels like we’re living on the edge? Maybe just a little, when really we’re not at all, we’re just running late.
There are always going to be times when it’s advantageous to do something as quickly as possible but my advice is to check in with yourself and see if you’ve been the maker of not having enough time, and if you are, ask yourself if you can prevent it happening again.
My mantra in trying to break this habit has been, ‘less haste, more speed’. If I take my time, I do things properly without creating a hype about it, it generally happens quicker and more easily. Again it’s a work in progress but has made so much difference to how I feel, think and function.
If you relate to this approaching life in a hurry habit, what can you do?
Give yourself time – time to get up - to get ready - to leave the house – for the journey. Prioritise having time for meals. Say no to things so you don’t give yourself too much to do. Limit your list for the day. Be a steady Eddie most of the time. If you are going to be late, then accept it and carry on calmly. This way, you can give yourself the gift of calmness, kindness and respect firstly to yourself and you’ll probably have the time to be the same to others. There will always be times in life when we need to be in a hurry and that's fine but we can live more calmly with a bit of planning, being realistic about how long things take and giving yourself a buffer of time so you don't need to stress.
Try it, just for a day and see how you feel. I'd love to hear how not being in a hurry feels for you.