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Hurry Sickness: Is it really worth running around at the speed of Light?

Looking at the watch all the time like the March Hare is a sign of Hurry Sickness

 

Driving home on the high way at the maximum allowed speed limit, I see cars whizzing past me at 80 or 90 kms/hr and smile because I know we’ll meet up again at the traffic light that divides commuters taking a clover turn where I’ll exit and those going forward.

There’s a digital signboard near the traffic light that blinks “Speed Thrills but also Kills”.

Then I feel sad because I know many of the drivers are showing symptoms of Hurry Sickness, a malady I used suffer from once upon a time until I realized what it was doing to my health and general quality of life.

I didn’t know it at the time and guess not many of us do until we fall prey to stress-related illnesses.

By definition, Hurry Sickness is “a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiousness; an overwhelming and continual sense of urgency.”

As if that isn’t bad enough, it’s also defined as “A malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any kind of delay.”

Sounds familiar?

The phrase Hurry Sickness was coined about 40 years ago by Dr. Meyer Friedman, a prominent cardiologist who noticed that all of his heart disease patients had common behavioral characteristics—the most obvious being that they were in a chronic rush (so much so that they wore the chairs in the doctor’s waiting room down on the front first from sitting at the edge of the seats).

He also coined the term ‘type A personality’.

Dr. Barton Sparagon, of the Meyer Friedman Institute, noted that chronic impatience associated with hurry sickness was damaging not only to our social environment, but to our physical health. It builds, and then it doesn’t take much to explode.

Hurry sickness, or chronic rush, should not be taken lightly because it contributes to stress-related illnesses including heart attacks, digestive problems, anxiety and immune disorders.

 

Could You Possibly be suffering from Hurry Sickness?

Man rushing with brief case across city

 

Suffering from Hurry Sickness or Chronic Rush is not a black or white illness. If you were to say that you didn’t suffer from it, then it’s either because you are not aware of it or are in denial.

In case you really don’t have Hurry Sickness, then hats off! Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing for the sake of your heart and health.

The majority of us suffer from it occasionally or chronically.

Here are some clues that you might need help.

  • Your internet speed goes slow and you get crabby and nasty.
  • You check your emails first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
  • You take your dog for a walk and within 30 seconds get irritated because Rufus wants to smell around a bit before doing his Call of Nature.
  • You’re waiting at the traffic light and it turns green and you start counting the cars in front of you to see if you can jump in if it turns amber or whether you can move into a faster lane (who cares if you end up having an accident?)
  • You don’t want to wait too long at the check-out counter or in the bank line and start assessing which line is moving faster or is shorter (so what if you irritate everyone around you?)
  • You often find yourself interrupting the person with whom you are talking (you’re impatient and want to get to the point asap)
  • Your spouse, friends, or colleagues tell you to take it easy or slow down out of concern (how irritating!)
  • You talk fast, walk fast and pride yourself as a multi-tasker (so what if you don’t complete anything and confuse people around you?)
  • You’ve lost touch friends because you don’t have time to meet them (your idea of keeping in touch is liking and commenting on their Facebook posts even though you are in the same city and can easily meet up for a cup of coffee).
  • You feel proud that you thrive under pressure (you even say it in job interviews) but as soon as you go on vacation, you fall sick or take longer than normal to recover from the flu or a cold because you’ve played havoc with your body and its suffering from adrenal exhaustion.
  • Worse yet, you experience burnout.

 

Karmic Ally Coaching Burnout Self Test

 

Technology has a hand in abetting this malady.

One of the many reasons why there is an increase of cases of people, especially corporate professionals suffering from Hurry Sickness is the increasing prevalence of technology which speeds up things and compresses what we can do in a limited period of time and creates a sense of urgency in its wake.

Think of what life was like before you had a computer, smart phone, washing machine, remote control television with recorder – you get the drift.

Technology is supposed to be our friend and support but we often forget that we are not machines, we are humans and we have different capacities and resilience levels.

 

Barton Sparagon quote on Chronic Rush

 

Is there a cure for Hurry Sickness?

 

Yes, there is a cure for Chronic Rush but it isn’t a quick fix solution.

It requires becoming aware of the malady and being ready to make the required habit and lifestyle changes.

If you feel you require professional help, then reach out and seek it. There’s no shame in admitting you have a problem that needs to be solved and requires support.

In fact, it’s brave to want to change a habit that is ruining your health, family life and career.

Here are a few of things you can do to jumpstart your road to recovery.

I really want you to take action, so here are the tips – in slide form too!

 

 

  1. Be grateful for all that is good in your life. Start a Gratitude Journal and make at least 3 entries before going to bed at night.
  2. If you are planning to add a new task to your schedule, ask yourself – is this really important? If the answer is yes, then remove another less priority task so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Manage your time targets.
  3. Take a morning walk and admire the trees and flowers. Observe life. Try the Nature Walking Meditation.
  4. Be positive. If something is not going as planned, think of something that is going right and work from a place of ‘it can be done’.
  5. Do breath work exercises, especially pranayam to give your brain more oxygen to keep it productive.
  6. Make it a point to take a break for 5 minutes every hour. Get up from your desk and walk around, go make yourself a cup of tea or other activity that gives you a break.
  7. Put your mobile phone on silent mode while eating and chat with your family members.
  8. Create boundaries and “non-negotiables”. Spend as much time as you can doing things you are positive about.
  9. See your friends in the real world. Did you know that a lack of or few social relationships increases your mortality rate?
  10. Be realistic – Rome wasn’t built in a day and you do have time to get things done when you set achievable goals with a stretch.

With a little effort on your part, you’ll find you have all the time in the world to focus on what really matters and Hurry Sickness will be a thing of the past. You’ll also know when you are returning to bad habits and can take preventive measures.

Which action will you start today to cure your Hurry Sickness?

 

 

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14 Responses to “Hurry Sickness: Is it really worth running around at the speed of Light?”

  1. Reba Linker says:

    Doctor, help! I’ve got Hurry Sickness! I am, at least, aware of it and working on being HERE instead of wanting to be over THERE. Great suggestions for helping us all do just that. Thank you, Vatsala.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Reba. Best of luck in overcoming Hurry Sickness. Creative people and those who love their work often have to be told to stop and smell the roses. That’s why Gratitude and Nature Walking Meditation with Miss Coco is my favorite tactic. 🙂

  2. Oh, Vatsala, I’ve suffered from this all my life! I’m consciously, daily, addressing it still. Gratitude works best for me! I keep meaning to do #6, but have lagged there. Will focus on that some more! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      It takes time to recover from Hurry Sickness, Susan, and easy to fall back into the trap. #6 is a wonderful tactic. Perhaps taking it 1 day at a time is a good way to start.

  3. I’m not quite a type A personality & I fall short of Hurry Sickness. Never even heard of it but apt it is. I do find I have much I want to do & my plate gets full. I’ve trained myself to enjoy each task & not think about what is next. I also trust my time management.

    This was fun to read & your suggestions to deal with this malady on target. Perhaps it is my own aging process that has me looking like I slowed down.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I love my work too Roslyn, which is why I have to make a conscious effort to make sure I don’t fall ill with Hurry Sickness because we often forget how quickly time passes and then end up rushing around. 🙂 Interestingly, I was identified as a borderline Type A personality when I worked for BG and we were given training in CPR as part of the firm policy that offices too had to comply with the Health & Safety Regulations that were used at the oil rigs and plants. That certainly opened my eyes!

  4. I love your images! I used to be the poster girl for the hurry habit when I worked in travel, then I had surgery forcing me to spend 2 weeks on my back which helped me finally see the light.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Marquita. I can relate to your experience of finally seeing Hurry Sickness for what it was doing to you. In my case, it was a slipped disc that forced me into 6 weeks bed rest (which included a relapse after 3 weeks because I continued to stubbornly participate in Hurry Sickness activities) that finally put some sense into my head. 🙂

  5. Suzie Cheel says:

    Love this- i must get up every hour- not so good at that one, I used to have hurry sickness, now I have more patience and as I do more of what makes my heart sing I am more at peace xxx

  6. Julie Gorges says:

    Very sound advice! I’m getting better at slowing down now that I’m in my 50’s. I was certainly an over-achiever, list-maker, and people-pleaser when I was young, and sometimes have to fight those impulses. The sure sign I’m over-doing and stressing out is I start getting cranky. Your suggestion of getting up for a five-minute break every hour is a great one I plan on implementing!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      We’re quite similar, Julie! I figured out when I turned 40 that I had to stop burning the candle at both ends if I intended to have a quality life and I’m still a work in progress. 🙂 Getting up every 5 minutes on the hour is a good way to start, it helps the mind rest as well as prevents flabby hips and back problems. Go for it!

  7. Summer Price says:

    These are some great tips! Breath work is probably one of my go-to calming exercises but there are so many that you suggest that I have never tried before. I’m going to pin this to remind me to slow down. Thanks!

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Meet your coach

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who've hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that work.

Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust. 

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

 

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

 
I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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