Right now, rushing seems to be a regular part of every day. People are rushing to do holiday shopping, school, work, and home management. We run through meals and conversations. I have a habit of rushing from task to task. I rush to read email and then quickly skim the next several messages to find out if there is another task I “need” to do. This usually makes me a little late for my next meeting, which I rush to join. I rush through the conversation.
I think I feel frantic because of the number of emails, meetings, chats, and to-do’s on my calendar: But I am feeling frantic because I’m thinking, “I have to get it all done” and “there’s too much to do” and “I can’t wait to finish this so that I can get to the end of it and start to relax!”
If I’m not careful, the rushing, urgency, and frantic action carry me all day with an undertone of anxiety. It pretends to be helpful because rushing is getting things done, and i think it’s moving me closer to calm.
I rush so that I can slow down.
But the funny thing is that when I get to the much-desired downtime, I cannot shut off. My mind is unable to get quiet and doesn’t let me let go because of my habit of rushing.
I intentionally learned to catch the rush and slow myself down without waiting for “all of it to be done.” I do this regularly and want to give it to you too. I hope this makes the last several weeks of your year more relaxed.
To start, look back and think about a time when you weren’t rushing. When did you relax and enjoy downtime? It doesn’t matter what the situation is that you think of…. it could be the last time you were painting your nails. Whatever. The important part is for you to remember how you felt. Pick a time that wasn’t frantic, and your mind was quiet and focused.
Please close your eyes and feel it. Memorize it. Breathe it in and be there in that feeling.
Now consider: What did you think when you felt that way? Was it “I have plenty of time,” “This is fun,” “I’m glad I’m taking this break,” “I love slowing down like this,” or “I do great things when I can slow down”? You are going to borrow these thoughts in the moments when you are rushing.
Write down anything that may be able to help you to recreate that relaxed, focused feeling. Put the phrases in front of you so you’ll see them when needed.
You are going to play a game with yourself. Catch yourself rushing as often as possible over the next two weeks, and see if you can use some of your phrases to drop into that feeling you identified instead.
Here are some of my personal favorites.
- I do my best work when I’m focused.
- I will never run out of things to do, so I will never be bored. Which one do I want to put my mind to right now?
- I don’t have to be in a hurry or rush.
- Oh look, I’m rushing again. I’ll do better if I calm down.
- I always make time for what’s important.
- I can rush and get this done, or I can relax and get this done: That’s up to me.
- There I go feeling frantic again. Deep breath and let go.
Try to catch yourself rushing 100 times. Notice it first. Then, when you notice it, try to conjure up that better feeling at that moment.
And then, when you do get to your more extended break or vacation. If you find yourself TRULY in the moment and enjoying it, try to notice what you are thinking so that you can borrow the thoughts and feelings the next time you hit the rush.
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