Written By: Andrea Cornell
Lately in many of my client’s sessions, we have been talking about the experience of rushing through their day and feeling anxious. Many people start the day without space for themselves, they rush through the morning to get ready, grab whatever they can for breakfast, and hurry to work. Then at work, they simply get through the day and afterward rush again to a class, workout, social plans, or therapy.
When the day is done, they head home to crash after dinner, maybe watch TV or spend time online and stay up a little too late for the next day… Sound familiar? What’s the emotional experience of this cycle like for you? Why do we have these patterns that make us ultimately unhappy?
If you look at people who are using routines and schedules that work well, they have a healthy relationship with negotiating boundaries. They can delay an immediate gratification of playing a game of their phone late at night, or watching one more episode of a new show. Instead, they ask themselves about what they really want, if feeling calm and open is the answer, then they take initiative about staying on task. This could mean that going to bed earlier makes more sense, again it’s about setting a healthy boundary. They are also flexible with themselves, and instead of thinking of themselves as having or lacking “willpower”, they create a relationship of self-encouragement and understanding. That means they allow time for thinking about their balance and prioritizing their sense of calm. The feeling of rushing and lacking time is connected to having higher anxiety and it likely feeds into a cycle of bringing down self-esteem.
In graduate school, I remember a lecture during a psychology class where the professor explained the theory of feeling calm and centered. She shared how people who focus their thoughts in the future, tend to be anxious and feel worried about what is going to happen. In contrast, those who dwell most of their thoughts in the past tend to feel more depressed and stuck. She explained that reminding yourself to stay in the present and focusing your mind in the here-and-now, creates a feeling of openness and calm. We can take a breath, feel a moment and find space to stop our minds from pushing our emotions into high gear. Take a deep breath now… take another one. When you give yourself some calm energy, then go back to your work, or tasks at hand and bring your present energy to the moment. You will bring your best self forward and create more success for yourself. If you continue a pattern of rushing and feeling frantic, you’re completely out of the present and will feed your anxiety.