3 Ways Busyness is Killing Your Happiness
Busyness is now an undisputed badge of honor in our hustle culture. The reasons for why this is the case has been explored by publications such as Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, Forbes, and even scholarly studies published by The John Hopkins University Press and others. Subsequently, I’ve spent my time asking a different question: what effect does this reality have on our ability to live happy and healthy lives?
The short answer? It has a significant impact. With very little research you’ll find that the impact of this new perspective of busyness points to one very scary reality - our society’s overwhelming busyness results in the deterioration of our physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual selves, with damaging repercussions for our relationships, which is something I learned the hard way.
Before I share the three most significant ways that busyness kills our happiness, let me tell you how busyness broke my heart.
A few years into a new job, my older sister called to tell me I was going to become an uncle, a first time uncle. I was so happy I almost cried… okay fine, I did cry and I’m not ashamed of it either. Needless to say, my niece holds a very special place in my heart.
My job, on the other hand, though I loved it, was demanding. I knew that going into it and even celebrate it. I was excited about my new position and saw a full schedule as a sign of importance. Plus, a full schedule was the norm for my colleagues as well. When I found myself exhausted at the end of a day, a week, or a season, I just wrote it off as a job well done. “I gave it my all,” I told myself.
I became sadly aware of just how busy I was when my niece became one year old. My wife and I visited my sister who lived only forty minutes away. During that visit, I learned that my niece was familiar with everyone but me. She even knew and went to my wife but I felt like a stranger to her. My heart sank. It might as well had been tied to an anchor.
As I looked back on how this could have happened, I realized that there were so many family events and get-togethers that I could never make because of my schedule. A meeting, an appointment, an event, a project, a fill-in-the-blank was always scheduled. It became clear that maintaining my badge of busyness meant forfeiting some of the most meaningful things in life to me. And this reality is at the heart of how excessive busyness hacks away at our happiness.
Something had to change. I had to change. So I did.
This “wake up call” episode showed me the three most significant ways that busyness kills our happiness, which I’ve shared below. If you want help with starting your un-busying journey, check out my post on How To Stop Being Busy All The Time.
This is probably self-explanatory but it’s such a big deal that it’s worth mentioning anyway. Living in a cycle of constant busy, busy, busy, is one of the fastest ways to kill a meaningful relationship. Your absence from others will eventually become their absence from you and you’ll find yourself being a stranger in places where you used to be family.
A lack of meaningful relationships, rest, and fun downtime eventually create an emotional void inside of you. A void that can never be filled by accomplishment, success, or even excellence. It’ll be like an itch that you can’t scratch no matter how much your success in other areas of life grows.
If it’s an area that interests you, it’s important to note that there’s nothing rushed about the spiritual life. No matter what angle you come from, slowing down is not an option when it comes to growing spiritually, it’s foundational. Trying to rush growth in a spiritual journey is like trying to force a tree to grow. It just doesn’t work that way.
I have a confession — While my experience with my niece was a hard pill to swallow, I’m grateful for it now. Combined with other experiences, it forced me to take a hard look at what mattered most to me. I eventually change careers, wrote an Amazon bestselling book on life balance, and now I help others as a life balance consultant.
QUESTION: What do you do when you feel like you're always busy?
When you catch yourself in an “always busy” season of life, what do you do? How do you stop? Do you have a plan that keeps you from getting to that place? Comment below and share your story.
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