Always in a rush? You may have hurry sickness. Luckily, there are ways you can learn to step back and slow down.

If you spend most of your day racing to check items off your to-do list and feel agitated when anything tries to slow you down, then you may be dealing with hurry sickness.

You may walk fast, talk fast, and probably think that there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done.

With the demands of modern life, most people are in a rush much of the time. But when you start to juggle too much at once, it can have repercussions and may signal it’s time to slow down.

If you’re always on the move, you could be experiencing what cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R.H. Rosenman call “hurry sickness.”

Hurry sickness, coined in their 1985 book “Type A Behavior and Your Heart” isn’t an actual medical condition, but it’s known as a sense of excessive time urgency.

You may constantly feel rushed or anxious and have a feeling of urgency to get things done when there’s no need.

When you’re chronically in a hurry, it can mentally and physically affect you. In fact, Friedman and Rosenman found that hurry sickness was a component in type A personalities and may lead to stress-related heart issues.

A 2010 study that consisted of 442 people in Basra, Iraq, found evidence that people associated with Type A personality had a significantly increased chance of hypertension.

The first step to slowing down is learning how to recognize when you’re moving too fast.

Here’s what hurry sickness may look like:

  • rushing through tasks
  • feeling irritable when there’s a delay
  • interrupting or talking over people
  • running through your “to do” in your head
  • treating everything like a race
  • always feeling behind schedule
  • continuously multi-tasking
  • always having a sense of urgency

The overwhelming anxiety and stress that you feel from taking on too much may play a role in how you mentally and physically feel.

When this happens, you may notice physical health effects, such as:

  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • low immune system

When you’re always in a hurry you’re more likely to neglect your self-care practices, which can contribute to the physical and mental symptoms you may feel.

When your brain is programmed to constantly be on the go, the sheer thought of slowing down may seem impossible. Consider these strategies to help you get out of the habit of rushing to get things done.

Embrace mindfulness

Consistently pushing yourself to meet a deadline or get things done even when it’s not necessary can put stress on your mind and body. Mindfulness can help focus your attention on the here and now.

When you’re used to multi-tasking, you’re used to completing several tasks at once which could mean your mind is going in a million different directions. Mindfulness will help you focus on the present moment, one task at a time.

If you experience an overwhelming feeling while multi-tasking, consider directing your awareness to your breath and your thoughts. Thoughts may come and go and that’s okay, if you feel safe you can observe your feelings without judgment.

This mindfulness strategy is always available to you and may help you focus on the present moment. Mindfulness takes practice, but in time you’ll get there.

Practice self-care

Spending your day always in a hurry may also mean that you’re neglecting your self-care.

It can be helpful to build self-care into your everyday routine. While your new goal may be to not have as many tasks on your plate, consider treating self-care like you would a doctor’s appointment and pencil it into your schedule.

You can use this time to do things you enjoy, whether it’s getting a massage or being with friends. Doing what brings you comfort and rest is completely up to you.

Prioritize your tasks

Ask yourself, “what is time-sensitive and what can wait?” Prioritizing your tasks may be hard at first, especially when you’re dealing with hurry sickness, and you feel like everything is equally important. But in time, it will get easier.

Try and focus on the essential things and set aside or delegate the other things that are trivial or don’t need your attention right away. You’d be surprised at how many things you can pass off to other people or that aren’t that necessary.

Set boundaries

If you have a hard time saying no when someone asks you to take on something, then you should consider setting clear boundaries for yourself.

Accepting more responsibilities than you can handle might be what led you to experience hurry sickness. To manage this and adopt a slower living lifestyle, being persistent with setting boundaries for yourself may help.

Consider the following tips to help you establish clear boundaries:

  • learning to say no
  • being assertive
  • taking on only one task at a time

Think about saying yes to the things that you want to do, and no to the things you don’t.

When you treat everything like it’s an emergency even when it’s not, you’re putting stress on yourself, which can lead to feelings of mental and physical exhaustion.

Consider practicing the following strategies to help you slow down.

  • mindfulness
  • self-care
  • prioritizing
  • setting boundaries

If you feel like it’s too hard to break free from your patterns on your own, know you’re not alone and people are there to help and support you.

Consider speaking with a therapist to help you put together a plan to cope with hurry sickness and create a lasting change in your life.