Coined by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and RH Rosenman in their 1985 book Type A Behavior And Your Heart, hurry sickness is described as an excessive sense of time urgency. It’s not technically a medical condition, but it’s certainly a wellbeing phenomenon.
If you feel constantly rushed, anxious and have a disproportionate feeling of urgency to get things done, you could be experiencing hurry sickness, which can be detrimental to your health and inhibit your enjoyment of life.
“The chronic stress of constant urgency activates our survival wiring,” says Dr Erica Simon, clinical psychologist and founder of SeriesBe, a consultancy service for start-ups taking a preventative approach to burnout in the workplace. “It evolved over millions of years to respond to acute, immediate threats where we need to meet a safety demand. Once resolved, our bodies are meant to pull back into a restorative mode.”
But modern-day stress is different. “It doesn’t have a beginning, middle and an end like an acute physical danger. So the cascade of physiological changes that occur in the body (increased respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol, adrenaline etc) maintain over a longer time than this system was meant to be activated.”
This can lead to a slew of health issues, including “increased inflammation, impaired immune system functioning, emotion dysregulation, sleep disruption and more”.
Plus, when you’re racing through life with haste, you’re far more likely to neglect your own self-care, viewing it as a hindrance and a waste of time compared to the never-ending list of things you expect yourself to accomplish.