Saturday, April 12, 2008


The pace at which we live is making us sick. Most of us are so busy, we "don't have time" for friendships, recreation, loafing, or rest. If we sleep very long at night, we awaken to a morning rush to get ready to go to work. We join the "rush-hour" traffic. We hurry to arrive at the job on time. By the time we do arrive, we are ready for a morning break...almost too tired to work.

Not only are we speeding through daily life at a frenetic pace, the current rate of change that is going on around us is so rapid, if we attempt to "keep up," we run the risk of exhausting ourselves. It seems we even "burn out" in
a hurry.

I work with many people who are feeling pressured to do more than ever before, and in less time. In their attempts to accommodate the pressure, their work becomes inefficient, and they overwork, become irritable, resistive, and demoralized. Their bodies are stressed, and they more easily become sick...a cold, flu, or worse. More than three quarters of the problems for which we seek medical attention are related to the speed and stress with which we function.

We do indeed seem to be suffering from what Native Americans once called "hurry sickness." We are so busy running in multiple directions, meeting endless deadlines, and participating in so many activities, that even our thought races. Peace of mind is forgotten. A serene internal environment is lost. And internal chaos becomes "normal."

For those of us who have forgotten how to slow down, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Remember, pressure
    is contagious.

    But, so is ease. You may wish to place yourself around people who are easy going, relaxed, and peaceful. "Hang out" with those people who are balanced themselves. Watch them and learn from them how they function.

  2. Train your attention to focus on one
    thing at a time.

    This skill is referred to as "single-pointedness." Many people are planning in their minds the next four or five activities they want to do while actually doing something else...mindlessly, or at least without attending to what they are doing at any given moment. Learn to put all of your attention on the activity you are doing right now. Let everything else wait.

  3. Periodically "check
    in with yourself."
    Monitor your tension level, your breathing pattern, your internal state. Even in the midst of a high-pressure situation, you can become aware of how you are inside, without anyone else becoming aware of what you
    are doing.

  4. Give yourself permission to
    "take your own time."
    Will disaster strike if you don't move faster? Will you work more efficiently if you rush through everything? Notice that when you speed through, and finish quickly, you never reap the benefits of the activity itself. There is usually personal benefit derived from being active. But when you speed through the action, you miss out on such benefit.

  5. Set the pace for
    any given day by reading inspirational books for the first half hour after getting out of bed.

    Or use that first half hour to meditate, review your blessings and appreciations, and repeat affirmations which stabilize and refresh your spirit.

  6. List daily activities that really need to
    be done.

    Simplify your activity level. Prioritize what is really important. Remember that your own balance and peacefulness is primary. Everything else is secondary.

  7. Make wise choices about what you put into your mind, into your body, and into your relationships.

    Fill your mind with positive thought. Fill your body with nutritious food and clean air. Fill your relationships with warmth and laughter. You have a lot more power and influence about the quality of your lifestyle than you
    may believe.

  8. Finally, keep in
    mind the outcome
    you desire.

    Learn to make choices and decisions with your desired outcome firmly in mind. Do you want to be stressed out and ill in a month? Is that your desired outcome? Or would your preferred outcome be a state of balance, health, and well-being?


We do not have to suffer from hurry sickness. We can maintain an internal environment which is serene, even if chaos reigns outside ourselves. Make your goal a peaceful internal state, and instead of hurry sickness, you may just develop "leisure wellness."

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