How to Overcome Addiction to Busy-Ness

Do you thrive on deadlines and being busy? So do many people. In fact our country’s culture often emphasizes the importance of “busy” as a valued trait, even while marketing increased leisure time activities to us.

Why do so many people value being busy?

“Busy-ness” has become as potent an addiction in our society as substance abuse. Often those who say they thrive on the adrenaline rush of being constantly frantic are truly addicted to that rush. They may create chaos in relationships by running late or not showing up at all, breaking promises.

A form of narcissism can present itself in someone who lives a frenzied life. This way of living may be a form of control over how others perceive the narcissist. This person is desperate to be viewed as terribly important and worthy and does so by needing to appear highly in demand. Our culture especially encourages this in work situations.

busyThis frantic person may give the impression of working so hard for others that he or she would never be self-important. Yet unconsciously this is exactly the pattern. When you become addicted to “busy” in this way, having others admire you for your diligence fuels the fire and creates a shield to prevent you from having an honest relationship with yourself (and others). You may work harder, stay at work later, and reap the rewards of being respected for that. Eventually you are likely to burn out, and your addiction may overtake you.

Best-selling author Brene Brown says, ““I often say that when they start having 12-step meetings for busy-aholics, they’ll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.”

When you slow down, you may be faced with uncomfortable feelings about your life. You may wish to begin by asking yourself, “Who am I really, without the busy’? What identity would I be if I did nothing for a few hours, accomplished nothing? What soul wisdom am I avoiding by being so busy?”

If you truly wish to change, take a look at the list of activities you undertake. Which can be delegated? Which can be best put off or delayed? Which can be deleted entirely from your list? Which activities build you up and which drain you? Which can be dealt with in a different way?

You may find new ways of feeding your spirit so you no longer need to fill your time (and thoughts) with frantic activities. We have addressed many of these in earlier posts: meditation, healthful activities like yoga or tai chi, connecting with nature, for instance. And when those do not seem to still your feelings of stress, reach out for help from a professional!

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