North Americans are suffering from an addiction to busyness. Just the other day my Bank Manager greeted me with, “How are you today, Lana...busy, busy I hope.” Yikes! Was she implying that if I’m not 'busy, busy' there’s something wrong with me?
We live in a 24/7, frantic world where busyness is worn like a badge of honour. If we see an empty space in our calendars, we feel the urge to fill it in because we need to look like we’re always busy! We've also become caught in the trap that busyness somehow equals happiness.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard had a different view on busyness. Based on his research, a constantly busy person was a sign of an unhappy person. He claimed that people who continually filled up their schedules with things to do were distracting themselves from asking the terrifying questions about who they are and what is life really about.
Busyness creates a world where everything is important and nothing is important. Eventually, as time passes, it chips away at our zest for life, causing us to lash out at our loved ones and friends, it diminishes the joy from activities we once loved and leaves us feeling overwhelmed and over-stressed.
When we are constantly running from one task to the other, our “fight/flight” response is triggered, releasing chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol (feel good chemicals). We can become addicted to these “feel good” chemicals! However, the downside is if we’re constantly living in fight/flight mode, quite frankly, we’ll wear out, be miserable and lonely!
What’s interesting about Kierkegaard’s observations is that he lived in the late 1800s, which leads me to believe that busyness is not a condition brought on by today’s frenetically-paced lifestyle that is fueled by technology and the rapid pace of change. Rather, it's actually a state of mind. If busyness is a state of mind, then you don’t have to own it, live it or be addicted to it because you are not your thoughts.
So, how do you get off the busyness treadmill and ensure you won't need a visit to rehab? Why through my "Triple A" Plan, of course!
AWARENESS: Check your schedule. How busy are you? Do you crave to have more time doing things you want to do?
ANALYZE: Do your activities align with your priorities?
ACTION: Want to change your quality of life? Take action NOW. The solution is simple but it’s not easy. Remember, the only thing standing between you and the life you desire is YOU. Make it happen!
One way that I like to keep the 'busyness' of my life in perspective is to wander through the blueberry patch at my cabin in Ontario where both blueberries and life lessons abound. Have a read of my blog post on this topic to find out what I've learned.