Busyness: What to Do When Stress Spirals Out of Control

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”–Viktor Frankl

Stress can spiral out of control when life is filled with busyness. Too many things to do and not enough time in the day seem s to be today’s mantra. Life seems to be about how much we can get done during the day, leading to over work and just not enough rest time. We have become obsessed with busyness and over obligation to tasks that may not hold value to what’s most important in your life. . What is this obsession with crossing things off list that hold little meaning in life?

By nature, humans are productive beings. After all, we wouldn’t work or populate the earth. Filling days with so many things to do can prevent us to live in the moment. It can be all too easy to become forward focused and preoccupied with getting things done. Recently, one of my clients underwent chemotherapy for cancer. Each time she came to visit she changed. “Things just look differently to me now,” she said.  Jennifer* began to talk about the things that mattered most to her in life. She now lives more in the present moment more each day.

Why do we race to the end when we have been given this gift of life?

One of the biggest challenges is the fact we are hardwired to protect ourselves. Fight or flight is a survival mechanism to keep us safe. Humans are ready to run or fight a perceived threat. Somewhere along the line we have become consumed with thinking we need something we don’t have. Our biggest challenge is living in the moment and seeing life in all its beauty. And, that we have everything we need in this moment.

Viktor Frankl talked about space in the above quote. So much time is spent squishing things to do into day calendars. What about creating that space to recharge your life? Let’s talk a little bit more about making space.

What matters most to you in your life? Maybe it’s spending more time with family or picking up hobbies that relaxed you. Begin to look truthfully where your time is spent. What you think you spend on work or other obligations might not be accurate. You have a choice where you spend your time. You have the power to ask for help. Then you can release the guilt of needing to be productive.

This is the gift of life’s dance. Understand that thoughts will come and go and the need to be productive is born within us. Use this tool to stop stress from spiraling out of control in your life.