I have decided to never rush again.

I spent years rushing, forever working on a deadline, cramming in hours of preparation for a meeting, a business trip, a project, you name it. Now that I have left that life and have my own business, setting my own schedule, guess what? I still rush on occasion. There's nothing wrong with rushing - we all do it from time to time. Except when you come to understand that rushing is a form of stress. When I rush, I tense my muscles, hold my breath a little (or a lot) and propel myself single-mindedly to my destination or completion of a task. It's not the way I want to live and it's bad for my health.

Sitting on a cross-town bus recently, which was crawling through traffic making me late for a doctor’s appointment, I could feel my breathing go shallow and my chest tighten up. I realized immediately that I was worried about missing my appointment and instantly decided I didn't want to worry. Just relax and breathe, I said, angst isn't going to make the bus move any faster. I did relax and even though I wasn't overly jazzed, just slightly enervated, guess what? When I got to the doctor, my blood pressure was 10 points higher than usual. Ten points that puts my blood pressure into the low high range. My doctor suggested I test my blood pressure at home and the same thing happened. When I rush, my blood pressure goes up. Even a little rushing for a little while elevates my blood pressure. Not fatal, but imagine what a daily regimen of rushing would do.

That's one of the reasons why I decided to trade in rushing for hurrying. There's a big difference between the two. Hurrying is simply moving fast. It's like breaking into a fast walk when you have been strolling along or breaking into a run from a fast walk. Like any aerobic exercise, this can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure temporarily as the increased volume of oxygen rich blood feeds your muscles. Over time, exercise can strengthen your heart as it works harder to feed your system. That's natural. In fact, for a healthy person, it's good for you.

But it’s a whole different ball game from what the stress of rushing does to your blood pressure. Stress causes your blood pressure to rise by releasing stress hormones into your system, which raise your heart rate and constrict your blood vessels, just the opposite of what happens in aerobic exercise. While this may be temporary, if it happens repeatedly, it may cause damage to blood vessels, raise blood pressure and contribute to heart disease. It's worth the effort to understand how stress and exercise affect your heart. As my blood pressure started to go up due to being out of shape and getting older no doubt, I wanted to do everything I could to improve my health without medication.

Stop the World.

So what can I do? I have already embarked on a great cardio and exercise program. Now I'm in great shape in that regard even though I have high markers for genetic heart disease. I am generally relaxed and happy, enjoying life with energy and exuberance. Yet there are those times when I see areas where I could be kinder to myself. Rushing is one of those areas. Aside from health concerns, rushing takes me out of the now. Since I've been observing my rushing behavior, I see that I miss opportunities when I am fixated on getting where I'm going or doing what I'm doing. A lot of those opportunities have to do with other people, who may also be doing their own version of rushing. Just yesterday a stranger caught me as I was on my way somewhere, asking how to get a taxi in my town. I did stop and helped her out, but even while I was with her, I was still in transit. Afterwards, I kept thinking about her and obviously still am. She was a hospital worker; she looked tired; she was carrying bundles. True, she could have asked me for more, but what matters is that I wanted to do more, perhaps even driving her to where she was going. How glorious that would have been - so unexpected for the both of us. Rushing even a little seals us off from each other as we catapult ourselves into doing. We don't see what is right in front of us. Like Castaneda's shaman Don Juan Matus, I want to "stop the world," derailing blind trajectory onto a new path of spectacular connection.

Can I decide just that like to stop rushing? How do I trade in the worry-fraught ordeal of rushing for the delicious energy of hurrying? Of course. Here's what I do:

1. Attend to any and all worry. Without worry, stress cannot exist. Without the belief that worry is necessary, worry cannot exist. I use The Option Method to drill down to the real reason for stress – the beliefs that I have to, should, must, and ought to be a certain way in order to make sure I am the way I want to be. I know that is a tongue twister – imagine what it does to your body, mind and spirit!

2. Once you do the above, the rest just reveals itself.

For example:

Make the decision to hurry, not rush and know the reason why.
Enjoy taking time for things.
Arrange my day so that I have time to do the things I want to do.
Allow myself the freedom to put things off until tomorrow or even indefinitely if I feel like it.
If I am short on time, move with all deliberate speed in a relaxing flow of efficient energy.
In fact, why not hurry more often just for fun.
Always be in touch with all I am ever moving towards are my own self-created desires (no, others don't make me do anything).
When I’m late, take responsibility for what I am responsible for and forget the rest.
Be aware of how I move - relax my muscles, focus outside of myself, breathe, breathe, breathe.
Let go and enjoy life!

To your health and happiness, Wendy Dolber

Join us at our summer happiness workshop: Let Your Happiness Happen! Introduction to The Option Method, August 3rd and 4th, 2013, NYC (http://letyourhappinesshappen.eventbrite.com

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Dolber, Option Method Master Teacher, is the founder of Dialogues in Self Discovery LLC and Director of the Center for The Option Method. Wendy has been an Option Method teacher for almost forty years and has conducted many workshops on The Option Method, She was one of Bruce Di Marsico’s original students and was associated with him for more than twenty-five years. Wendy is the author of The Guru Next Door, A Teacher’s Legacy.