Busyness: It IS An Epidemic!

by Cathy Lumsden

“Busy-ness in the Tibetan tradition is considered the most extreme form of laziness. Because when you are busy you can turn your brain off. You’re on the treadmill. The only intelligence comes in the morning when you make your To Do list and you get rid of all the possible space that could happen in your day.” Elephant Journal, 2008 

Are you on that treadmill? Do you believe time is precious? If you are and if you do, hopefully the messages in this article will reach you.

In our present society, busyness is frequently condoned. It can give us and others the perception that we are productive, important or useful. Like it or not, it feeds our egos. Don’t get me wrong; we all have busy times in our lives. However, it’s important for us to ask ourselves this: is our busyness a badge of honour or an avoidance tactic?

Busyness can be defined in many ways. It can be making lunches, dragging kids out of bed as you brush your teeth, then driving them to school, hockey and dance and not even remembering how you got there. You are functioning on automatic pilot. Busyness can also be defined as running into the office, opening a laptop, texting, planning dinner in your head, and calling a colleague on your landline. The day speeds on fast and furious.

Do you ever shower and discover your mind is racing? “Oh maybe I shouldn’t have said that. What color of pantyhose should I wear? What if my boss doesn’t like my ideas.” How disappointing. When this happens you sabotage yourself because you miss the soothing feeling of warm fresh water on your body; you miss being in the moment.

Busyness is both internal, in our minds, and external, in busily doing numerous things. Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, calls our incessant chatter the roommate in our heads. It is non-stop verbiage and unfortunately we believe it and identify with it. How silly is that? Most of it is totally distorted.

Busyness causes: 

  • Relationships to fail. With the roommate in our minds espousing continual nonsense, it’s extremely difficult to be present to our loved ones. As they notice our inattentiveness, they may begin to feel they’re not worth listening to or they may, perhaps, discontinue sharing with us. People only see our behaviors, not into our hearts. They are not aware of the intentions we hold internally. There is no such thing as a good relationship without investing the time to nurture it. Time together is what builds a relationship. If time is such a precious commodity, why do we waste it?
  • Addictions. Eventually we need to escape from our busyness so we can relax. Often people turn to substances, to work, to exercise, to food and even to self-help books.  Some have a need to avoid boredom, reality and their feelings. But busyness is a temporary escape. It can be an addiction in and of itself. I guarantee, though, your conscience will always catch up to you.
  • Health issues. When we race around doing a million things, our stress levels increase and we emit stress hormones that are toxic to our health. You may enjoy the rush of adrenaline that busyness gives you; however I guarantee it will catch up to you.

One of the most important elements necessary to reduce busyness is the awareness to step off the treadmill. Stop and reflect on your day. Book an appointment with yourself and ask, “Am I a human doing or a human being?” It’s your choice. You may also want to make it a priority to laugh and have fun each day. Meditation, yoga, prayer, mindfulness and quiet time for your mind are necessities in this rapid, unpredictable, changing world. At times, simply seeking moments of balance is good enough for starters. I challenge you to step off the treadmill, switch off automatic pilot and reap the benefits!

Contact Cathy at Adlerian Counselling and Consulting Group, 613 737-5553.


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