Mind & Body

Break Free from "Hurry Disease"

Impatience and high-speed multitasking can lead to hypertension and heart disease. Here are 7 slow-down strategies.

Break Free from "Hurry Disease"
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Faster vs. Better
TRYING TO DECELERATE in a hit-the-gas world isn't easy. For me, it took a near-death experience. After walking in a marathon, I became severely hyponatremic and fell into a four-day coma. With my recovery came a new desire to savor every moment, even those spent in a traffic jam or paying bills. A quote from Mahatma Gandhi became my mantra: "There is more to life than increasing its speed."

Toward that end, I've deepened my practice of yoga and meditation, restarted a book club that lapsed because we were all "too busy," switched my primary radio station from news to music, and taken up the contemplative hobby of knitting.

Here are some other slow-down strategies that will put time back on your side:
1. Set priorities. Make a conscious decision about what you consider important, and let your schedule (and your attitude) reflect your intentions. For example, if relationships and health are high on your list, turn off the TV to free up time for taking walks with friends.
2. Do one thing at a time. When you multitask, it becomes impossible to concentrate, feel deeply, or think clearly. "Doing two or more things at the same time splits our consciousness in two or more ways," observes meditation teacher Eknath Easwaran.
3. Wake up right. "Set your alarm clock early, but don't get up when it rings," suggests Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., author of The Last Self-Help Book You'll Ever Need: Repress Your Anger, Think Negatively, Be a Good Blamer, & Throttle Your Inner Child. "Lie there a few minutes and practice the savoring response: Think about who and what is worth getting up for and the privilege of being awake in such a rushed yet wonderful world."