Perhaps it is essential to first understand what fuels the hurriedness, what fuels the belief that there isn't enough time. And I suspect I am not alone in this, that in this day and age of busy-ness and over scheduling perhaps many of us feel a lack of time to truly do what we want to do. Perhaps we have an imbalance in our lives between "have to do's" and "want to do's". I know this is certainly true for me at times, and when it is I feel rushed to get my "have to do's" done so I can hurry up and have fun (hilarious, right?!?). But when that balance is out of whack, that fun may never truly come. So perhaps one way to address the anxiety, the dysregulation that comes from the hustle and bustle, is finding ways to slow down and rebalance our lives. What comes up for me with the idea of finding balance is identifying priorities and practicing boundaries around things outside of that list of priorities. This means we learn to say "no". We learn to say "no" to requests from others on our time that fall outside of our priorities. We learn to say "no" to our own tendencies to get side-tracked, spending time on things outside our priorities. We learn to get comfortable with the trade-offs that occur when we say "yes" to something because it means we are saying "no" to something else. But before we can do that, we need to get clear on our priorities. We need to ask ourselves:
As we make these choices, or non-choices (which are really the same thing), we may consider that the answers to these questions may shift over time. With this recognition, we may choose to reflect on these questions regularly from time to time, allowing us to refine, clarify, and adjust our priorities and/or recommit to priorities that still resonate.
In his book "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less", Greg McKeown recommends getting clear on our main priority and focusing our energy on that, versus dividing our energy among many different tasks that may or may not align with our main priority. His book was mostly focused on prioritizing our work, addressing one main domain in our life. So perhaps we can take what we learn from him and apply it to different domains of our lives - maybe identifying one main priority for work, one for relationships, and one for self. Something I find useful is to journal on priorities in each of those domains, noticing key words, and then refining them into a person mission statement and maybe even a vision statement. For me, creating this clarity helps me prioritize those things I identify as essential and say "no" to things that aren't, making it easier to accept the trade-offs.
I notice when I am living in greater alignment with my priorities, when I am living in alignment with who and how I want to be, I feel less rushed. It is easier to be present and focus on what the moment brings. It makes it easier to breathe, to take it all in, and to regulate. So that maybe, just maybe, difficulty connecting with the breath is about too much stress from not prioritizing our life. In the words of McKeown, "If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will". So the question is, what do you plan to do with this wild and precious life?
This blog is for information only. Reading this blog or interacting with it is not medical advice and does not constitute a therapeutic relationship. This blog is not a substitute for mental health care. Please be sure to seek out mental health care as needed.