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Why Hurrying Up Will Slow You Down

Learn to resist your hurry up driver

It is interesting that many of us, when we find ourselves under pressure, tend to speed up in order to successfully achieve more. Sadly there is a cost to this and quite often it involves our health, well-being and relationships. When we operate at full speed we send a physiological message to ourselves causing an adrenaline and cortisol surge which can make us impatient, anxious, irritable and nauseous. Operating quickly instead of taking our time leads to mistakes and causes us to forget and overlook items. By contrast if we take time to slow down, breathe properly and assess the situation we are then in a position to prioritise. We can then work through what needs to be done rationally and in an orderly fashion.

The types of people who possess a strong “hurry-up” driver are usually perfectionists who like to be in control. These are people who have been brought up to believe there is a right and wrong way to go about situations and that alternative solutions are usually lesser or flawed. These people usually hate to deviate from their planned behaviour, whether they be traveling, working or cooking and therefore, seldom have another way to achieve all that needs to be done. People who are inclined to speed up have been taught that to ask for help or protest at being overloaded or overworked is a sign of weakness. The only solution that remains to them, is to hurry.

If they have children, these children will usually mimic hurrying behaviour and start to become anxious and goal orientated or they will be on a deliberate “go slow” to counteract their parents’ undue haste. Either scenario is not desirable. If we are goal-orientated then we often miss out on the pleasure of the process of what we are doing, rushing instead to complete tasks and “box-tick” our way through items. Alternatively a child that is deliberately slowing down may miss natural “milestones” and be wrongly labelled as slow or stubborn when all they are doing is reacting to a situation that is causing them anxiety or discomfort.

In order to counteract a “hurry up” driver one must first recognise it. If you are constantly late, always rushing, feel overworked and under-appreciated you are probably going too fast for your own well-being. If you also suffer from headaches, indigestion, insomnia, anxiety, irritability and are easily moved to anger or tears you are definitely doing yourself some physical damage and if this is prolonged you could develop serious conditions such as a cardiac problem or depression. We are not designed to go full tilt for prolonged periods. So if this is you, what can you do about it?

Firstly, sometimes we are going to have periods where we need to fit more in and it is OK to occasionally be operating at full tilt, such as at Christmas time or just after the birth of a child. However it is definitely not OK for these periods to stretch over months. If you have too much to do, ask for help or delegate. Secondly, prioritise. If you have a new baby, giving dinner parties is not a priority. If you are entertaining sixteen for Christmas dinner, dusting skirting boards is not a priority. Taking some time out each day to sit and eat a properly-cooked meal or to read a favourite book or to do a little gardening is not time wasted – you are investing in your future health and it could save your life! The things that counteract stress are hobbies that we can lose ourselves in, regular, moderate exercise, good nutrition and low reliance on stimulants e.g. caffeine, nicotine, sugar and alcohol. We also need friends or family to support and nurture us as well as a good night’s sleep. These need to be a priority. So if you hear the siren call inside yourself to “hurry up” ask yourself what you are hurrying for? Is it for your health? Is it for your contentment? Is it for your children’s security? I doubt it!

Remember to slow down, take stock, prioritise and deputise and soon you will be able to turn a deaf ear to your internal “hurry up” impulse and achieve a more balanced and comfortable life where there is time to "smell the coffee".

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