Feeling Anxious? Stop Rushing!

I hate to rush. Rushing creates a sense of hurry, of inadequate time and space to do what one intends/needs to do. I’ve noticed that rushing creates anxiety. One’s attention is in the future rather than the present, and there is a sense of scarcity–in the case of rushing, there is a sense of scarcity of time.

Now this is not to say that some circumstances are not urgent or emergent, and there are times when acting with all deliberate haste is appropriate. Believe me, as a former family physician, I am well aware of this. That said, I found that if I stayed in the present, connected to my breath and what I was doing in a given moment, I felt better. In what may be a surprise for those who are rush-prone, I am actually more efficient when I don’t rush. I am more perceptive, and more able to think clearly and problem solve in a healthy and creative fashion.

I have also found that if I am not rushed and anxious, then I am more helpful to my patients or clients, as then it is easier for them to stay in a space of possibility despite what may well be a very real crisis situation. Science and neuroscience research supports this, and has indeed found that when individuals “slow down” their autonomic nervous system a bit, reducing the fight/flight activation levels, they indeed improved their ability to perceive information and to make good choices. The military knows this as well, training soldiers to take their time while still working very quickly in high stress/pressure situations.

And yet, our society in general encourages rushing, with rapid fire stimulus from many directions, all of which serve to up-regulate the nervous system. From that its no surprise that so many people are nervous, anxious, chronically stressed. Want to feel better? Stop rushing. Or, to once again quote Simon and Garfunkel:

Slow down, you’re moving too fast, got to make the morning last”  Slow down for a moment, take a listen.



16 thoughts on “Feeling Anxious? Stop Rushing!

  1. One of my all-time favorite songs. I appreciate your post today. I woke up feeling anxious about my day, which is kind of funny considering I don’t have too much to do. I was in a mood to “rush” through it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I used to ask my students, “Who works better under pressure?” Most of them raised their hands. Then asked, “How many of you always wait until the last minute to do your projects?” Same people raised their hands. Then I said, “What if you didn’t?” some of them understood what I saying, that they didn’t know HOW they’d do if they weren’t rushed. 🙂 I hate rushing, too. I’m frustrated today because it’s been co-opted by a friend from out of town and I have stuff to do that NOW I will have to rush. I love the friend, but I’m not in the mood. OH well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As a very nervous flyer/traveler, I have learnt to manage my anxiety by leaving plenty of time for all traveling activities, and it works better in regular life too. Deep breathing definitely helps too, slowing down the nervous system 🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel like I’ve been in a hurry my entire life – always trying to rush, multitask, think 3 steps ahead, and plan sequences of tasks to be most efficient. But it’s stressful! And you’re right – leaves me no time to just be in the moment I’m in since I’m ALWAYS thinking and planning and worrying about some future something.

    Good reminder to just try to BE.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love it. And there’s so much truth to that.

    Along very similar lines, my favourite quote, from the very same artists, is ‘I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.’

    S&G must have known what’s up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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