photo by FABIOLA MEDEIROS
Everyone, it seems, is in a hurry. Every where we go we can witness the effects of “hurry sickness”: impatient people getting upset because they have to wait in line, drivers honking horns and flashing lights because the driver in front of them is not going fast enough. You might succumb to “hurry sickness” if you regularly complain that you are short of time; you have too many things to do so you try to get things done as quickly as possible; and, you get upset if you have to deal with a delay of any kind.
In the 1950s, Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, coined the term “hurry sickness”, while studying personality types. As a result, they developed the Type A personality which is characterized by time urgency/impatience, hostility, competitiveness, tenseness, and aggressiveness.
Living in a state of chronic time stress has an adverse effect on your health. Feeling constantly pressured for time can weaken your immune system, cause muscle pain, insomnia, headaches, and increase your risk for depression and anxiety. Stress as a result time urgency and hostility can decrease the supply of blood to the muscles of the heart and studies have shown that these time pressure episodes can be a precursor to a heart attack.
As with many of our problems, the problem of time urgency can be modified and managed. Are you unsure if you operate in a chronic hurried mode? Ask a friend, family member of co-worker for their feedback.
Take and Make Time
Take time to do activities that require you to slow down. Visit an art gallery, listen to someone without interrupting them, do only one thing at a time, or take up meditation. Practice patience when waiting in line – the proverbial “count to ten” is a quick and easy trick to use in those situations. Of course, it is important to make sure that you leave yourself enough time to get your errands done in the first place. Estimate how long each task will take you and factor in some time for any delays, like traffic or lineups. Walk whenever possible, instead of driving; walking is good for you and it will help you to slow down.
Abdominal breathing using your diaphragm is another great way to slow down. In order to get a sense of abdominal breathing try it this way first: Place your right hand on your abdomen and your left hand on your chest. Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand first. Your right hand should move outward as you breath in and your left hand should stay relatively still. Now practice it without using your hands. This is an excellent way for you to reduce stress in almost any situation. You might want to practice this the next time you have to wait in line. This is also a wonderful relaxation technique that children can use.
We all have the same 24 hours in the daily time bank. Time is the constant so what needs to change are the choices that we make about how we use our time.