Is "Hurry Sickness" Making You Fat?

A student in one of my online classes posted this recently. It reminded me of so many of my clients who struggle with taking care of themselves. 

Does this sound like you?

"Everything today seems to happen at warp speed–including eating. There is stress to move on to the next item 'to do.'  Everyone is always 'doing.' We have been conditioned to not have the time or to take the time to be present and appreciate any moment. You might even be viewed as lazy if you aren’t doing, doing, doing. This pressure pulls on taking the time to select healthy food, cook the food, and enjoy the food.
When we are so busy, it is an inconvenience to stop and eat. We just grab something and inhale it (not thinking about it at all) and keep doing and doing. Prepackaged food has invaded our lives.... Then, there is the obsession with what we should and shouldn’t be eating based on the latest trend or fad in the news."

Michio Kushi, the father of American Macrobiotics, coined the term hurry sickness to describe our distorted relationship to time in the industrialized world: 

He described it as "a behavior pattern marked by continual rushing and anxiousness; an overwhelming and continual sense of urgency, where everyone feels chronically short of time and so performs every task faster and gets flustered when encountering delay.”

Hurry sickness hits hard for those in caregiving roles ~ with elderly parents, growing children, or ailing spouses. In the name of virtue, you put yourself and your needs last while taking care of everyone else, thinking this is just the way it has to be. 

What are the consequences of hurry sickness?

  • Alienation. Running like hamsters on a wheel disconnects us not only from the natural rhythms of our body and soul; it leaves us on the outside of those we love. 
  • Stress. Chronically high levels of the stress hormone cortisol make us emotionally volatile, vulnerable to chaotic eating habits, and unable to lose even an ounce of excess body weight.  
  • Guilt. Our best never feels good enough; hurry sickness becomes an addiction in its own right. We're unable to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and take a rest. Our drug of choice becomes "more." 

In the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, chronic busyness is considered a form of laziness. Rather than face ourselves, we stay in perpetual hydraulics to dodge the loneliness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that lurk just below the turbulent surface.

But here's the secret good news that our busy-holic society doesn't want you to know:

The more we slow down and take care of ourselves first, the easier it becomes to get things done.

When we stop our perpetual doing, things might at first feel worse before they get better. Like any addict in withdrawal form a drug, we panic when we first encounter the leviathan that's been driving our compulsive activity. 

With the right support, as we learn to relax, we discover that those painful feelings become gateways to spiritual healing and freedom. 

Where can you begin? Right here:

Stop for a moment. Right now.

(I'm serious. Just stop. )

Place your hands over your heart. Take three conscious breaths.

Rest in space for a moment. 

Now ask yourself, "How important is it

It's easier to let go of hurry sickness when we have support. Share this post with a friend and exchange some ideas about the actions you each can take, starting today!

Marcella FrielComment