Busy Is a Sickness

February 27, 2015 - Picnic Time

I’m busy.

I don’t know about you, yet anytime we am asked, “How’s it going?”, we never usually contend “fine” anymore. Instead, my batch response is always some class of frazzled. The scale ranges from “busy” to “crazy busy” to “nutballs.”

The good news is, my answer is customarily met with sensitive response, that is as calming as it is depressing.

“Tell me about it! We are, too!”

“I know! Isn’t it insane!”

“There’s never adequate time in a day, is there?”

But something altered about a month ago. we bumped into a crony during a gym. Instead of sympathizing when we pronounced we was “crazy busy,” he simply asked:

“Really? So what do we have going on today?”

I had to stop and cruise for a moment. No one has ever asked me to “describe my busy.” So we conducted a mental examination of a calendar before explaining that we had a ceremony rope operation in a morning, followed by a basketball diversion for my son, a church joining for my wife, a birthday celebration for my daughter, and a date night that evening.

His response?

“Sounds like a full day. Have fun!”

At first, we was a bit resentful. He apparently misunderstood me. we wanted to remind him how terrible all of this was. we wanted to explain how pushing from place to place in my gentle SUV was a outrageous pain in a ass. Not to discuss how Gabby and we would have to detached adult for partial of a day. Buying and jacket a birthday gift? Don’t even get me started! And afterwards usually carrying an hour to get a kids fed and get prepared for a semi-fancy date that evening.

Didn’t we hear me? we am busy! Sweet Baby Jesus, have redemption on my soul!

Here’s a thing. we wear busyness like a badge of honor. Only there’s no respect to be had.

Busy is a sickness.

The American Psychological Association has published a Stress In America survey given 2007. They find that the infancy of Americans commend that their highlight exceeds levels required to contend good health. The many revisit reason they pierce for not addressing a problem?

Being too busy.

It’s a infamous cycle.

Dr. Susan Koven practices inner medicine during Massachusetts General Hospital. In a 2013 Boston Globe column, she wrote:

In a past few years, I’ve distinguished an widespread of sorts: studious after studious pang from a same condition. The symptoms of this condition embody fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, behind pain, and weight gain. There are no blood tests or X-rays evidence of this condition, and nonetheless it’s easy to recognize. The condition is extreme busyness.

We’ve listened for years that extreme highlight causes health problems. But notice that Dr. Koven didn’t contend stress. She pronounced busyness.

And it’s an epidemic.

Dr. Michael Marmot, a British epidemiologist, has difficult stress and a effects, and found a base causes to be dual forms of busyness. Though he doesn’t give them central names, he describes a many deleterious as busyness yet control, that essentially affects a poor. Their mercantile existence simply does not concede for downtime. They have to work dual to 3 jobs to keep a family afloat. When we supplement kids to a mix, it becomes overwhelming, and a highlight formula in legitimate health problems.

The second form of busyness also formula in health problems, yet it is a illness we pierce on ourselves. Like willingly beating a doorway hoop of a preschool lavatory or carrying a sweaty cruise in a Ball Pit during Chuck E. Cheese’s.

It’s busyness we control.

Self-created stress.

Ever given my review a month ago, we satisfied that my busyness is this second type. Busyness we control. In fact, many times we emanate rush and worry where nothing exists. Any standard morning, we can find me roving my kids like a integrate of three-dollar mules in a sea of marbles, vagrant them to pierce faster.

“If we don’t finish your waffles in a successive 90 seconds, we’re gonna be late!”

“Do we like being tardy?! ‘Cause that’s what you’ll be if we don’t precipitate adult and brush your teeth!”

The humorous thing is, either we poke or not, we always seem to get to propagandize during a same time any day. Before a bell. And if we’re late? Nothing bad unequivocally happens, yet there is still a voice in my conduct revelation me a integrate of tardies now is a sleazy slope that eventually leads to 5-10 years in Federal Prison.


After my review with my friend, we began to notice how many of my rushing was an overreaction to my “awfulizing” in my head. Most of a time, we make coercion in hopes that it will emanate coercion in others. Instead, it usually creates anxiety, rancour and spite. Which is positively counter-productive. And even in a cases where a coercion is real, it’s mostly due to a packaged report we created.

All of this done me wonder:

Why would a grown-ass man, with a mind and dual opposable thumbs, confirm to willingly emanate highlight in his life?

I found a answer, and it’s not pretty.

We are fearful of ourselves.

In America, we are tangible by what we do. Our careers. What we produce. It’s a initial doubt asked during parties, and mostly a initial tidbit of information we share with strangers. The import is that if we am not bustling doing something, we am somehow reduction than. Not worthy. Or during slightest value reduction than those who are producing something.

Now, before we start to cruise this is usually one guy’s opinion, cruise a new investigate published in a biography Science. In one experiment, participants were left alone in a room for adult to 15 minutes. When asked either they favourite a alone time, over half reported disliking it.

In successive studies, participants were given an electric shock, and afterwards asked if they would compensate income to equivocate being repelled again. Not surprisingly, many pronounced they would trade income to equivocate pain. However, when these same people were left alone in a room for 15 minutes, scarcely half chose to self-administer an electric startle rather than lay alone with their thoughts.

You review that right.



(Which is so not punny.)

Think about what this means. Just being is so unpleasant that we are peaceful to harm ourselves to equivocate it.

And this is maybe a saddest law of all. we am combined in a design and correspondence of God, nonetheless somehow that isn’t good adequate for me. So we fill my Facebook feed and my calendar with conceited busyness to equivocate usually being. In a process, we not usually skip out on a assent and beauty that lies within myself, yet we also skip saying that same beauty in others, given my done coercion has lonesome it adult with highlight and worry.

It’s time we let my busyness rest in peace.

So my request now is this. That we stop defining myself by my doing, and start defining myself by my being. That we stop measuring time by a time on a wall, and start measuring it by a practice we share with those around me. And that we stop saying my life as “busy,” and instead, see it for what it truly is.


Writer’s note: For a past month, we have attempted my best to discharge a word “busy” from my vocabulary. The result? we feel lighter. Now, when people ask how things are going, we usually say, “Life is full.” What works for you?

* This post creatively seemed on a blog The Accidental Missionary. Follow The Accidental Missionary on Facebook or Twitter @sdannemiller.

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