Ok, stop whatever you’re doing and read this! Unless you’re driving, or feeding your baby, or cleaning windows on a 40-storey building. (But kudos to you for the expert multi-tasking.)
I just stumbled across this post on Zen Habits: ‘Why I’m always in a hurry and what I’m doing about it‘. Click the link to read it. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Doo doo dooooo….
Dah dum…ooo there’s a sale on flights to Los Angeles.
Aaaaand you’re back.
Interesting read, right?
Did it leap off the page and zing your heart the way it did with me? You know, that bubbly feeling you get when something rings true? That sense that it was written just for you?
It did for me.
Because I believe anxiety is ALL about the rush.
Constantly feeling we should be doing more, more, more.
Just this morning, I was walking through the city to work (I’m at a Bristol writing studio for the next few weeks). For some reason, I worried that I was late. And if I was late, it would be the end of the world. Maybe even the universe. So I was rushing, flustered, frantic.
The phone rang. It was mum.
Just as I answered it, a drunk man stumbled down the cycle ramp, undid his pants. And. Started. Peeing.
In broad daylight.
In front of me.
On my way to work.
So I’m shocked, and trying to talk to mum who wants me to sign a form or something, and worried that I’m late for work.
Then…I feel it.
The fluttery heart.
The skipped beats.
It feels like my heart is going to burst through my chest and explode.
It’s the early warning signs of a panic attack.
So, I stop. In the middle of the street (nowhere near the pissing guy, don’t worry). I hang up on mum. Take some deep breaths, in for 3 counts, out for 3 counts. Then in for 4 counts, out for 4 counts. I manage to ward off the panic before it gets a grip.
I was scared.
Not about the panic attack, because I know how to avoid them now.
But because it took so little to get my heart stressed. A little rush, a weird encounter, and my mum asking for a favour. Just those three things…
But I believe it was the habit of rushing that really elevated my anxiety.
How are rushing and anxiety linked?
Anxiety ignites the ‘fight or flight’ response. The adrenal glands respond by releasing cortisol (the stress hormone) to get you out of danger.
But, like me, you’re NOT IN ANY DANGER. You’re just off to work or an appointment or wherever (and hopefully not confronted by a drunk guy peeing).
Thing is, your brain and body don’t know that. They’re just responding to the signals. Cue a panic attack.
So that’s why I LOVE Leo’s piece on the pitfalls of rushing. And that’s why I wanted to share it with you.
Because although he doesn’t mention anxiety, he does point out all the other parts of our lives that lose out when we hurry.
And for us anxious ones, hurrying is maybe the WORST thing we can do.