Many of us have been socialized and praised for going fast. Whether it is a track race, finishing a test, losing that last 10 pounds in a week, or making money, we glorify how speedy one can be in accomplishing the task. I am all about finding ways to work smarter, not harder, and being productive, but more often than not, I see that this need for speed causes many of us to rush.
We all know the damages of long-term stress. When we rush to get something done, it often creates tremendous pressure. The physical stress pours over us through muscle tension, clenched jaw, elevated heart rate, sweating, etc. And then emotional stress comes from feeling irritated, frustrated, and worried about completing the task. Can anyone say migraine?
Stress is not great fuel for accomplishing items on your list. If you are like me, this is when I start forgetting things, like leaving keys on the counter or spilling my coffee. When we utilize negative emotions like stress, frustration, worry, or irritation, we are more likely to have a negative outcome, or the period we spend rushing is a stressful experience. Think about the last time you were in a significant rush. Did it feel like a good experience?
I do believe there is a time and place for rushing. Maybe it’s to make a flight that is about to take off, and you are in a long security line, or when you have a toddler who needs to go to the bathroom ASAP, but to chronically rely on rushing to make things happen can lead to physical and psychological distress.
What I encourage instead is to use rushing as an invitation to slow down. Remind yourself that slowing down can help you remember things, make fewer mistakes, and enjoy the moment more. If you are running late to an appointment or running into a deadline, have some compassion for yourself and use it as a learning opportunity for next time.
I do not believe our need for speed has led to more happiness. Instead, the times I intentionally slowed down and enjoyed the process have been some of the most joyful experiences. If you are rushing more often than you would like, ask yourself WHY? Perhaps, it is a time management issue that waking up an extra 15 minutes can fix. Maybe it’s because you see someone else accomplishing something quickly. We can look at creating a timeline that works best for you and your lifestyle. Whatever the answer, there is a more peaceful way to go about it.
If you would like some support with this, I invite you to schedule a connection call with me. I promise to slow down feels so much better.
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.