(NaturalNews) Do you keep yourself too busy for your own good?
If chronic busy-ness is causing you stress, but you can't seem to slow down, there may be deeper reasons for it.
Some people would rather deal with being too busy than deal with what is really bothering them. Here are seven reasons why (in my experience as a counselor and coach) people keep themselves insanely busy.
1. To avoid reality
A painful marriage, a wayward child, poor health, a failing business - life has plenty of painful realities you may need to confront. If you feel you don't have the emotional resources to handle difficult problems, you may opt for living in overwhelm and distraction as a way to avoid reality.
Living with too much to do creates problems of its own, but it can save you from having to deal with even scarier issues. Which problems are you avoiding?
Comforting thought: When you face reality, options open up that were not possible when you were in denial.
2. Existential angst
Do you avoid life's big questions? Why are you here? How long will you be alive and for what purpose? What happens after you die and how does that affect you now? What is life all about anyway? Is there a God?
Your very existence prompts these kinds of questions. Since the answers are not easily won, most people just try to avoid the questions. They avoid them by - you guessed it - staying busy, overwhelmed and distracted. After all, who has time to think about deeper things with a mile-long to-do list?
Comforting thought: Even though there is no escaping some degree of uncertainty about the big questions, there is a lot to be gained by learning to be comfortable with uncertainty. And what you discover by addressing the big questions, over time, is priceless.
3. To run from the past
Continuing with our theme of avoidance, the past is another common thing people like to avoid at all costs. There are even entire models of life coaching that refuse to deal with the past, but catapult you into the future at breakneck speed.
Running from the past is appropriate when you are a young adult. People under age 30 (more or less) often do not have the character or life experience to deal with a painful past, so I rarely suggest they dive in. Move ahead - build a new history for yourself!
Closer to mi-life, however, most people have the capacity to come to terms with the past. Doing so frees them emotionally in ways they never dreamed possible.
At any rate, staying catastrophically busy may serve to distract you from the pain you'd feel if your past were to catch up with you.
Comforting thought: You past can be healed, absolutely, with the right tools. Even the worst cases of trauma can be laid to rest.
4. To be fashionable
I live in Southern California where it is fashionable to be busy. People here actually compete over who is the most overwhelmed with "how much they have going on." Living with too much to do is a lifestyle choice for the self-obsessed. Who wants to be seen as a loser?
Comforting thought: In time, you may be able to get over yourself (please).
5. Fear of success
When you are able to focus, plan and get things done in an orderly manner, you typically go places. Success happens when people work energetically and avoid burn out. Limiting yourself to what you can work on with enthusiasm and energy is a key factor.
If you are afraid of success, you will be tempted to sabotage yourself by taking on too much or trying to do too much by yourself. Having more to do than you can possibly accomplish keeps you down, perhaps where you feel safer. Comforting thought: Learning to handle success is the best possible problem to have.
6. To avoid intimacy
She is overwhelmed with volunteer work, church activity and a job. When she has free time, she takes on endless projects around the house and can't sit still. He is obsessed with politics, the stock market and work, and can never take his eye off new developments.
What would happen if their schedules suddenly cleared up and they had time to spare? They'd be together, just the two of them. Get it?
Comforting thought: On the other side of your fear of intimacy is the possibility of a safe and deeply rewarding connection to another human being. This will breathe new purpose into your life.
7. You can't say no
The word "no" is the fastest way for many people to reduce stress. Saying no (respectfully) to invitations, volunteer assignments, favors, new projects and personal requests is a lifesaver.
If you can't say no, then you do not have a way to limit your busy-ness! Your level of overwhelm in life will be in the hands of other people, many of whom cannot (and should not) sense your capacity to handle things. Comforting thought: This is another thing that can absolutely be learned. Clear boundaries are perhaps the most powerful personal development tool!
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