How to rush a little less

Much of today’s culture encourages us to rush, to hurry, to cram more activities into our days, and to have more experiences. While we are ostensibly engaged in one thing, we are already planning or thinking or worrying about the next.

What would happen if we stopped focusing on what’s next?

What would life be like if we stopped rushing?

Imagine going about your day without continually feeling “behind schedule”. Picture yourself doing all the same things you do now, but in a more relaxed way. You’d be able to enjoy the moment without worrying about the next thing. You’d be more present with those around you and less preoccupied with the future.

Of course, you can’t be calm and present all the time. And you don’t need to be. But you don’t need to be rushing all the time, either.

So, what if we could rush a little less?

Now, I am exploring how to stop rushing myself. I’ll share a few things that worked for me with the caveat that I’m still learning too. I still find myself rushing quite often. Here’s what works for me, though:

  • Realize that rushing is a mental state. Rushing is not a substantive feature of the world. It’s an experience in your consciousness. This implies that the way to stop rushing is not to change your external circumstances, but is instead to change something inside you.
  • When you notice yourself rushing, stop, stand still, and take three deep breaths. There’s nothing spiritual or woo-woo about this. When you stand still and you take a few deep breaths, you relax your body. Your body and your mind are linked, so when you relax your muscles, your mind will relax too.
  • Try moving quickly without rushing. Can you do it? I bet you can. Just like you can rush without moving quickly. Rushing and moving quickly are not the same thing. Once you mentally disentangle the two, you will start to notice moments when you’d like to move quickly, without rushing.

Of course, this is an ongoing practice. You probably can’t suddenly stop rushing all the time. But if you practice now and then, you can learn to rush a little less.

Yours,

— Peter

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