Susanne Says - Part 2 of Anxious Anyone? A Look at Everyday Anxiety and Hurry Sickness


Part 2 of a Series on Anxiet

Last month I introduced a new series about anxiety. December's focus was the stress we all feel at the most wonderful time of the year...Christmas! 

This month I’m talking about two categories of anxiety. The first is everyday anxiety and the second is the modern-day phenomenon called Hurry Sickness.

Stress is defined as "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances." However, anxiety is a reaction to that stress. Anxiety includes worry about what "may" happen. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." It's commonly believed that 90% of things we're anxious or worried about never come to pass!

What is Everyday Anxiety?

It’s part of the pressure and tension we experience in our daily lives in response to stress.  In a normal day we most likely experience stress at levels we may not even notice – the stress that comes from getting to school or work on time, meeting the demands of our responsibilities, making time to work out, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. These are all are normal everyday happenings that can cause minor or major levels of stress. 

Stress is here to stay.  The goal is to have ways of managing it and reducing it, but don't ever think you can eradicate it. Not on this side of Heaven! 

Remember stress is the event, circumstance, relationship, or daily reality we feel threatened by and anxiety is our reaction to that stress. The way to deal with the resulting anxiety is managing our stress better. One of the key ways we do that is to not over-schedule ourselves!  I cannot overstate how important it is to be mindful of the amount of activities we take on in a given week or month. It's near impossible to become a better stress manager if we don't prayerfully consider being a better time manager. (See Resources below for more on Time Management.)  This particular anxiety that results from having too much to do can turn into something far more serious if left unchecked. 

Hurry Sickness is the modern-day phenomenon of always being overbooked and overly busy.

 People with really tight schedules find themselves becoming irritable and impatient.  Minor delays can cause angry outbursts, emotional flare-ups, and frayed nerves. A mom who spends her entire day busy - working, doing ministry or home projects, running from one location to another - may find herself raging at traffic that doesn't cooperate as she races across town to pick up the kids. It's those lousy slow drivers that become the problem...not my infinite ability to over-schedule myself. Leaving 12 minutes for a 15-minute drive will make a girl irate if there’s traffic, as is pretty much guaranteed when school lets out. 

In order to avoid Hurry Sickness, there are 2 Cardinal Rules to remember:

Cardinal Rule #1 - Recognize that nothing takes 10 minutes! Build in a few minutes for inevitable everyday stresses like traffic, lost homework, etc.

Cardinal Rule #2 - Be home an hour before your kids get home from school if you're a stay-at-home mom. That's why you stayed home: to enjoy the kids and not permit work to over-stress you. 

Working mothers need to be extremely careful about making commitments outside of home and job because there are only a certain number of discretionary hours in a given week or month. If you're working and you have small kids, I encourage you to be completely realistic about how much time you have to spare for activities outside the home.  

Even good activities rob from God's best for you. << Click to Tweet

Hurry Sickness has been called the "modern day malaise," by Dr. Meyer Friedman. When men and women don't recognize that they're chronically busy and they continue in the lifestyle of rushing and being overly busy there can be some very significant consequences. The body keeps track of what we are and aren't handling. The results can be seriously debilitating conditions, including physical, mental, and emotional issues: depression, burnout, stomach issues, heart issues, and skin disorders to name a few. (I've attached a link to an article below that addresses how our faith can help us overcome these pressures that arise from chronic busyness.) 

Next month, we'll look at significant life stressors like loss of a loved one due to death, divorce, job loss and the disruptions they cause in life. 

Susanne is a Licensed Professional Christian Counselor. She has been serving the Christian community as a professional Christian counselor in Essex County and the surrounding area since 1986.  Beyond her private practice in West Orange, she is involved in teaching, consulting, and pastoral supervision in various churches in the area. Susanne can be reached at 

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