How Your Daily Routine Can Cause Hurry Sickness (And What to Do Instead)

Having 24 hours a day seems to be more than enough to do a lot of activities, especially with the use of advanced technology. However, this statement is far from reality for some people. 

Waking up early but still needing to rush to work, navigating through traffic jams, running upstairs to the office, and arriving just in time can be a normal morning routine for some workers.

Experiencing these anticipated routine hassles leads them to feel a sense of time urgency. It can develop into an automatic response to always be in constant worry — also known as hurry sickness. Despite its name, hurry sickness is not considered a health condition, but it can lead to health issues. 

Although the severity of its impact is different from one individual to another, it is crucial to be aware of one’s condition. Individuals need to understand the concept of hurry sickness – what it is, how it looks, and what are the risks factors, before taking any action to mitigate the anxiety. 

What is hurry sickness?

Hurry sickness is a term proposed by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman in their book Type A Behavior And Your Heart published in 1974. After noticing the vulnerability of people with Type A personality toward heart disease, they identified time urgency as one of the risk factors. 

Hurry sickness (or hurry disease) is thus described as a behavior pattern displaying a continuous struggle to do more things in less time due to chronic anxiousness and an overwhelming sense of urgency.

Although it is said that hurry sickness anxiety presents in Type A personality individuals, it is not always the case. 

Another factor contributing to hurry disease is having fear of missing out (FOMO). With the current technology, people can easily connect with the outside world with quick changes in news and trends. It makes people reluctant to disconnect and aim to achieve more than others as seen in their social media feed for fear of falling out from the norm.

Signs you have hurry sickness

Once the cycle of panic begins, it is very easy to get used to it. Therefore, it represents a valid concern for many people. It is, hence, important to recognize the signs of hurry sickness before appropriately addressing it. 

The following are examples of what hurry sickness may look like:

  • Rushing through tasks or activities
  • Being obsessed with time to see if you can fit in more activities
  • Feeling irritable when something is delaying your plan
  • Tending to multitask
  • Treating every activity like a competition
  • Always feeling behind schedule

In some cases, you may also recognize hurry sickness through physical signs such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Stomach issues

All of these are similar to signs of prolonged stress which can result in burnout, a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion, disabling you from coping with the demands of daily life.

Tips on how to “un-hurry” your life

As mentioned above, although hurry sickness is not a diagnosis, it can negatively affect your well-being in several ways including mental and physical well-being. You need to “un-hurry” yourself by stopping multitasking and focusing on doing one thing at a time, taking a breather to slow down, and embracing the present moment with mindfulness to prevent these negative impacts.

Stop multitasking

Juggling between multiple tasks will drain your energy and hinder you from fully focusing on your tasks. You will have difficulties performing to the best of your ability or completing tasks because multitasking could affect your productivity. Reminding yourself of this possibility could help you stop multitasking and start prioritizing your tasks. 

When you control your situation, you can ask yourself “what needs to be done and when? What tasks can wait or be delegated to others?” Use your answer to these questions to recreate your workflow in a way that enables you to refocus on what is essential. This practice might be hard at first, especially when you’re suffering from hurry disease. However, once you feel the calmness as a result of this practice, it might become easier for you to make it a habit.

Take a breather and slow down

In cases where you can’t change your situation (e.g., getting stuck in traffic jams due to rush hours, accidents, or bad weather), taking a breather to relax can be an option to quell hurry sickness. During a short time, you can use your Personal Stability Zones to calm your pace or move your body to refresh your mind.

A Personal Stability Zone is a coping mechanism recommended by Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock in 1970 to help people deal with pressure, complexity, and overstimulation. The mechanism provides you with at least one area in your life where you feel safe and relatively stable. This zone is often associated with people, objects, and places. 

In practice, you might create your Stability Zone to handle your time urgency by having a cup of coffee with a friend, admiring your favorite object and recalling good memories, or spending time in your comfort place such as a bedroom, restaurant, or even street.

Furthermore, moving your body can do magic to your mind. Taking at least 30 minutes of your time to walk, especially in a special place, can help you slow down and collect your thoughts. Take deep breaths as you walk and stretch your legs from time to time to relieve hurry sickness anxiety and have a renewed outlook on your responsibilities. 

Embrace mindfulness

Hurry sickness hinders you from focusing on what you have to do in the present. To refocus your attention, mindfulness is an important skill to develop. It is also a valuable strategy to change the way you perceive a situation, de-pressuring you from the urgency to achieve more.

You can start by directing your awareness to your breath. Try to concentrate on your physical sensations and bring your attention to your emotions and thoughts. While anxious thoughts might come and go during this practice, keep embracing mindfulness and do not respond to the thoughts. It may take several practices, but you will get there in time.

Reaching a higher sense of self through mindfulness means that you can find your authentic self and understand the essence of each task each day, thus helping you to “un-hurry” yourself and enjoy the present moment.

In conclusion

Sometimes, struggling with any hassles to get things done in the fastest way possible seems to be part of your normal daily routine. Especially with the easy use of technology and the fear of falling behind, the mindset of having to do more in less time results in hurry sickness. 

However, this sense of time urgency could lead you to experience chronic anxiety, burnout, and even heart diseases, highlighting the importance of addressing this condition. Recognizing the signs and adopting strategies that let you “un-hurry” yourself may counteract the negative effects.

If you would like to learn more about routine hassle management, check out Personal Resilience Science Labs. The lab produces courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other learning materials using the research of the Institute for Life Management Science. Visit the Personal Resilience Science Labs today.

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