Is Rushing Really Worth It? Learning to Slow Down

Alisha Bennett, LMSW

Last Sunday I decided to go to the gym after I woke up.  As I walked up the stairs to the gym, a woman started sprinting up the stairs as if she was late for an important meeting. I didn’t think too much about it, but as I started my walk home, I noticed that I was surrounded by people rushing to get where they felt they needed to be. This was a Sunday afternoon. 

We’re always in such a hurry, but are we actually getting to our destination that much faster?  Think of the times that you have sped past someone on the street only to find that you are waiting with them at the next intersection.  Or other times, when you speed past someone down the subway stairs, only to find you end up getting on the same train as them.

I realized that I am guilty of this.  I used to wait until the last possible minute to leave for work. You can believe that I was the person rushing down the subway stairs to make the train, and then sighing and puffing at how long it took to get out of the subway station.  I have been the person speeding past you on the sidewalk to find you waiting right behind me at Starbucks a minute later.

In situations where you are rushing to race against time, your stress and anxiety levels become elevated. You may experience increased heart rate, perspiration, irritability and worry.  Who actually likes starting their morning like this?  If you think about how much time you are actually saving from rushing, it's probably a matter of minutes. If I had to guess, it’s definitely less than 10 (when trains are not seriously delayed).  If you find yourself rushing frequently, here are some tips to help: 

  • Lay out your clothes or plan your outfit the night before. 
  • Pack your bag and/or lunch the night before.
  • Start waking up 10 minutes earlier and leave your apartment 10 minutes earlier. 
  • Try to stay calm and take a breath if you miss the train that left right before you got there. In most cases it is not worth getting yourself upset.
  • Walk at a pace that doesn't increase your heart rate significantly. Maybe even try taking moments to notice your surroundings.

We can all benefit from slowing down a little.  How nice would it be to get to your job or appointment feeling calm and with a couple of minutes to spare?  You may be surprised at how much better and motivated you feel to start your day. 

Alisha Bennett, LMSW is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy.  If you are looking for support in slowing down or time management, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to learn how therapy might be able to help.