Updated: Jan 10
Everyone has moments in life when doing things quickly is advantageous. But what does being in a hurry the majority of the time do to 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 day, 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 that buzz? Ever wondered what it is doing to you? Imagine you’re in a hurry in the morning making breakfast of tea and toast. You pop the toast on and reach for the marmite. At this point, just think about how you would open the jar of marmite. Would you check to see if the lid is a bit stuck or assume it is and use full force to guarantee opening it quicker? Would this do any harm? No, not as a one off but when we apply this idea about using more force than is needed to do all our activities, that's when we can run into problems. Everyday things like walking, going up and down stairs, tying shoes laces, holding the steering wheel when driving, writing, typing etc. 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. We can lock ourselves up in constant readiness never allowing the muscles to release properly from the last task to return to normal healthy state.
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 poise 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.
So what can we do about this? Give ourselves 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. 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 but we can minimise this 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.
I’m writing this knowing I’m still on the journey of implementing it but I feel I have greater awareness of what’s going on instead on blindly rushing on just out of habit.
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. I did underestimate 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 how to 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. Again it’s a work in progress but has made so much difference to how I feel, think and function.