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How to Stop Rushing Through Life (5 Things to Do Instead)

Your alarm is buzzing loud in the morning. Next thing you know you’re rushing around from one to-do item to the next until you hit the hay. Does this sound familiar?

Living life in a constant state of hurry is a recipe for burnout and dissatisfaction. The antidote to a life of rushing is to learn the art of slow and intentional living. But how do you actually do this and stop rushing through life?

If you’re ready to trade in a rushed mentality for a life where you can stop to smell the roses, then this article is for you. We will detail realistic steps you can take to slow down and enjoy your life.

Why we live in a rushed society

I used to think that I was the only one who felt this constant pressure to rush around in life. I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t slow down.

Turns out that a research study found that 26% of women and 21% of men report feeling rushed. If you feel rushed all the time, clearly you are not alone.

Why is it that we feel so rushed? I’m afraid the answer isn't so simple.

But I have certainly noticed in recent years that we are a culture that glorifies “the hustle”. The more productive you are in our society, the more praise you tend to receive.

This creates a feedback loop where we keep rushing to get more done. As a result, I think most of us have forgotten what it means to be present.

Effects of living rushed

Rushing around incessantly has become so commonplace that it’s now a condition called “hurry sickness”. It’s when you cannot stop hurrying in life no matter what.

This type of “sickness” may sound benign. But researchers have discovered that individuals who are constantly living with a sense of urgency are at a higher risk for developing hypertension.

The effects of rushing around go beyond just your physical health though. They can impact how you interact with the world around you.

Research revealed that individuals who were hurrying were less likely to stop and help a victim. This totally shocked me!

By rushing around, we might develop into more self-absorbed individuals. That information alone is enough to make me want to slow down.

Slowing down may be the most beneficial thing you can do for both your personal character and your physical well-being.

5 ways to stop rushing in life

You can start to cure your “hurry-sickness” by incorporating these 5 actionable tips today.

1. Prepare the night before

There are times in life when I realize I am rushing around because I did not adequately prepare.

The simplest way I’ve found to combat this is to make a physical to-do list the night before a busy day. By making a to-do list, I can mentally prepare myself for the tasks ahead.

Sometimes I go so far as to visualize myself doing the tasks calmly and succeeding before I go to sleep.

I also make sure that my mornings are not rushed. I proactively have my coffee grounds ready to go and my work clothes laid out. These simple steps help shave off mental stress from my morning.

If you know you have a big task ahead of you or need to coordinate your schedule, take the time the night before. This will help you sleep better that night, too!

2. Plan mini-breaks

If you feel like you can’t stop to breathe during your day, you need to build in what I call “mini-breaks”.

For me, this looks like taking two minutes between my patients to just sit and do deep breathing. Other times, it looks like planning a 5-10 minute walk in the middle of my workday.

If you know you’re not likely to take a break, use tip number one and put mini breaks on your to-do list.

It may sound like it would be counterproductive, but taking breaks allows you to be more productive and fight the rush.

Be sure to sprinkle your own personal flavor of joy into your breaks to help you fight the burnout caused by hurry.

3. Get rid of the "extras"

Rushing can also be the result of doing too many things all the time. It’s logical, yet so many of us say “yes” to too many things.

When I find myself rushing so much that I can’t think straight anymore, I know it’s time to start saying “no”.

A few months ago, I felt like my cup was spilling over between work and my social life. I was so rushed that I felt like there was never enough time.

After my husband told me I had to take a chill pill, I started to say no. I said no to taking on extra work. I said no to social events on nights when I was tired.

By getting rid of the extra, I granted myself time to fill my cup back up. When I had a semblance of balance back, I didn’t feel that sense of constant urgency that was burning me out.

It’s okay to cut out the extras in your life so that you can abandon the constant feeling of being rushed.

4. Give yourself reminders

I am someone who naturally runs with all cylinders on. It’s not natural for me to move slowly with anything in life.

Because I am acutely aware of my nature, I know I need consistent reminders to stop rushing. I set reminders on my phone for every few hours that say “slow down” and “be where your feet are”.

It may sound silly, but having this physical reminder cues me to not get lost in the chaos of the day.

Your reminder doesn’t have to be on your phone. Maybe it’s hanging a sign on your desk. Or maybe you get a trendy sticker reminder for your water bottle.

Whatever it is, just make sure that you interact with it daily. Reminding yourself to slow down is what will make it become a habit.

5. Ground yourself with your surroundings

One of my favorite new practices for fighting my inherent need to hustle 24/7 is grounding.

Grounding is where you go barefoot in nature. You intentionally spend time feeling your feet connect to the earth.

Yes, I am aware this may sound like the most hippy-dippy thing ever. But don’t knock it until you try it.

Every time I take my shoes off and just feel the earth below me, I naturally slow down. It’s a mindfulness practice that I swear by for helping me be present.

If you can’t seem to find your rhythm in your day, take off your shoes outside. It only takes a minute, but it’s one minute that can completely ward off the hurry sickness.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, we've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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Wrapping up

Your days do not have to be spent living with your foot on the gas pedal 24/7. Use the steps from this article to put on your brakes. Because when you put on the brakes, you just may find that you enjoy the life that surrounds you that much more.

Would you say you lived a rushed life right now? What's your favorite tip to stop rushing through life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Ashley Kaiser Writer

Physical therapist, writer, and outdoor enthusiast from Arizona. Self-proclaimed dark chocolate addict and full-time adrenaline junkie. Obsessed with my dog and depending on the day my husband, too.

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