Be Honest: Are You Always In A Rush?
From ‘hurry sickness’ to ‘rushing women’s syndrome’, our M.O. of speeding through our tasks has been given multiple new monikers in recent years.
And yet, name a more rewarding buzz than the one you get from being efficient. No matter how many times we read about multi-tasking being a myth, it feels impossible to disconnect busyness from its ‘badge of honor’ status.
But like the menu of a cheap chain restaurant or the trimmings on your aunt’s Christmas tree, more doesn’t always equal more. Busier isn’t better. And, in an attempt to get you to sit up and take note, we’re going to tell you what’s going on in your brain when your life becomes - by
your design - darting between the bullet points on a list of to-do’s that is longer than the list of swear words employed by Gordon Ramsay in a professional kitchen.
‘Overscheduling and rushing between tasks pushes our brain into multi-tasking mode where we do each task less well than we are capable of doing them alone. It means we are more likely to miss details or make sloppy errors because we are not paying attention,’ Dr Tara Swart, a neuroscientist-turned-executive advisor and author of The Source (Ebury Publishing, £12.99) tells HNP.
But it’s not simply the case that you might forget to cross a few ‘i’s’ and dot your ‘t’s;’ a mind that’s rushing is one that isn’t about to think it’s best, most creative - or constructive - thoughts.
‘When we are task focused, we move blood flow and therefore glucose and oxygen - which are our resources for thinking - from the brain pathways that relate to big-picture thinking,’ Dr Swart explains.
‘And being overwhelmed by the to-do list also means that our brain gets stressed and our emotions are biased to scarcity or lack, and we’re prone to risk avoidance,’ she continues.
‘We are more likely to view the world as a negative and threatening. We don’t connect to the emotions of trust and excitement that go with abundant thinking.’
So, while filling a week, month or life with tasks might seem as if you’re enriching it, the process actually shrinks your world - until it’s little more than a list of responsibilities. What’s more, being in the above stressed state increases levels of our chronic stress hormone, cortisol.
It’s a wholly un-ideal situation. So, how do you consciously uncouple with your rushed AF modus operandi? Try Dr Swart’s strategies on for size.
1/ Diarize some empty time
‘This allows blood to flow to the default networks of the brain. These are the parts to do with big-picture thinking and mind wandering, which is when we get new ideas, our body goes into a state of relaxation and we get a better perspective on life.’
2/ Use a meditation app daily
’Just 10-20 minutes out of your day will help you slow down and build your mental resilience. You will notice the difference.’
3/ Practice mindful eating
‘Three times a day, slow down, step away from everything else you are doing and pay attention to the food you’re eating. Once you’ve learned how to do this it helps you step back from the noise and be mindful in other circumstances, too.’