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7 things to do to treat this DEADLY illness (that 80% of us suffer from!)

In this article, I explain how to identify Hurry Sickness, what causes it and what it does to our health.

History of Hurry Sickness

“Hurry Sickness” was discovered in 1974 by two cardiologists, Friedman and Rosenman when they noticed that a lot of their patients with Type A behavior had more risk of heart attack and death. They wondered if they could change the whole landscape of how cardiology was practiced and how myocardial infarction survival rates could be improved based on identification and intervention.

Definition of Hurry Sickness

This is defined as a sense of time urgency and a continuous struggle and an unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more things. It’s the disconnect between what is feasible and over-committing yourself. They found that those patients were more likely to have a heart attack and not survive, but through intervention, it is treatable.

How to Identify Hurry Sickness

You might be suffering from “Hurry Sickness” if you:

  • Have a sense of urgency all the time. 
  • You think fast and talk fast.
  • Make quick decisions and act on them
  • Feel this perpetual momentum to keep pressing forward.
  • Feel like you’re getting nothing done, even though you are a multitasking machine!
  • Struggle to say “no” because you feel it’s a weakness
  • Want to be seen as fully capable and responsible
What Causes Hurry Sickness

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the pandemic has made it even worse because we’re on our screens continuously. And because of this, we get this sense that because we are accessible all the time, we should be producing all the time.  As your friends or neighbors and most of us are feeling this underlying sense of urgency, accompanied with the threat that if we sit and do nothing, then someone else is going to get what we want.

What Hurry Sickness Does to Our Health

When you suffer from hurry sickness, your body surges with cortisol, which can make your sympathetic nervous system go into overdrive.  You may be more impulsive, angrier, or more irritable. You might have trouble regulating your circadian rhythms and your sleep patterns. Even if you’re diligent on sleep, it might not be the best quality sleep because your brain is always locked on.

You’re always in that prefrontal cortex. You’re not giving your brain a chance to rest in the “default mode” (where creativity lives in the alpha brain waves).  Therefore, you’re less likely to make these beautiful creative connections that lead to epiphanies.

When you’re stuck in hurry sickness, it makes your parasympathetic autonomic nervous system weaker. Parasympathetic is that “rest and digest.” It’s the perfect balance to the productivity of the sympathetic drive.  Parasympathetics are what we need to balance and have active recovery.

Often we think we’re taking a break by reading emails or watching Netflix.  But we aren’t giving ourselves true active recovery. Our brains are still locked on. And our parasympathetic systems continue to atrophy.  We see this evidence result in gut dysbiosis, dysregulation of your bowel movements, HPA axis and cortisol balance, fibromyalgia, mycotoxin illness, and chronic fatigue.

7 Things to Overcome Hurry Sickness

1. Before Saying “Yes” Ask Why?

Why would you want to do this? This goes back to looking at your core values. Is this going to add to your own mission either in your career or your life or how you like to live your life?

2. Banish the Word “Busy” from Your Vocabulary!

Everyone says I’m busy. I’m busy. Stop glorifying “busy” like it’s an award of adulthood. Let’s normalize the milestone of achieving grounded wakefulness and calm.

3. Be as Asynchronous as Possible

Not everything in life needs your live attention. You can batch your emails. You can be asynchronous in your responses. Not everything needs to be urgently answered right away.

4. If You Plan to Say “Yes”, Make a Plan!

Saying “yes” to high value tasks can’t happen unless we plan. Sit down every month, every week, every day, and chunk out all your goals or the things you need to do. Saying “no” will happen easier because when something falls in your lap unexpectedly, you feel more resilient because you have everything planned. You won’t be reacting to life, you’ll be proactively planning how you want to spend your time.

5. Think Black and White About Your Priorities

Ask yourself, “is this a priority?” Answer with yes or no. Then ask, “do I need to do this right now?” If you answer no, then plan for it later.

6. Be Like a 100 Watt Bulb

Either on or off. If you’re in front of a person or working on a task, then be there 100%. Be fully engaged in that conversation at the dinner table across from that person with your cell phone turned down and off. Be fully on at your work focusing on that project without any other browsers open.

7. Banish Multitasking or Risk 10 Points of IQ

When we multitask, we lose 10 points in our IQ every time we switch tasks. Therefore, banish multitasking and set a timer. You can either use the Pomodoro technique, which is a simple timer for 25 minutes where you focus on one task. At the end of 25 minutes, you get a five minute break where you can do whatever you want that lets your brain play and do those things that you’re curious about. Whether it’s scrolling through social media or checking email.

There’s other apps like Newsfeed Eradicator, Self-control or Rescue Time that can help you stay on track. If you banish multitasking, you’ll be guaranteed to be completely present.

Right Brain Recess!

Watch a replay of Episode 07 of Right Brain Recess! Don’t forget to watch LIVE on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn at 8:00AM CST on Mondays.

Hurry Sickness Conclusion

Going through the 7 steps above takes time and practice. It’s not instant, but we’re all learning and growing. I’d love to hear what you have discovered to identify yourself as suffering from hurry sickness and what you have done to treat it. 

If you’re a health care professional looking to add more creativity and sparkle in your delivery of medicine, please join my private Facebook Group “Creative Medical Professionals” and learn my top tips and tricks in action! 

Dr Lara Salyer Blog Author Photo

Dr. Lara Salyer

I am a Functional Medicine Physician, Speaker, Author and Mentor located in Monroe, WI.


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