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Why Rushing Isn't the Answer: Lessons for the Highly Sensitive Person in a Fast-Paced World

Woman with arms behind her head taking a break at her desk, looking out the window

In a fast-paced world that often glorifies speed and productivity, the act of rushing has become all too common. For non-sensitive people, rushing may be seen as a necessary evil to keep up with the demands of modern life. However, for highly sensitive persons (HSPs), the consequences of rushing can be particularly detrimental to our well-being.

The Impact of Rushing on HSPs

1. Overstimulation: Rushing often means having to process information, make decisions, and execute tasks quickly. For HSPs, this can easily lead to sensory overload. The heightened stress of trying to keep up with this fast pace can result in anxiety, irritability, and physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension. This is something to take seriously. If not addressed, overtime this rushing can lead to burnout and more serious stress related health issues.

2. Decreased Attention to Detail: As HSPs, we generally excel at paying attention to detail, but when rushed, our ability to do so diminishes. This can lead to mistakes, which may further stress and frustrate our often-perfectionistic selves. We may then need to go back and fix mistakes, undoing any perceived time savings from rushing.

3. Emotional Turmoil: As Highly sensitive people, we already experience emotions intensely, so keeping our emotions balanced is of utmost importance. Rushing amplifies our stress levels, making it even more challenging for us to regulate our emotions effectively. When we are rushed and stressed too often, we become more prone to mood swings, extreme overwhelm and even more serious mental health issues.

4. Burnout: Continual rushing can lead to burnout, a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. HSPs are susceptible to burnout not only because of our sensitive nervous systems but because we tend to invest a lot of ourselves in our work and relationships. Burnout can be hard to recover from and can also take a toll on our mental health, so we want to be mindful of when we are starting to feel burned out and time for ourselves as soon as possible. (Ideally, we practice preventive self-care and rest before we come anywhere close to burnout.)

5. Physical Health Issues: The constant stress associated with rushing can take a toll on our sensitive bodies. HSPs may experience a range of physical symptoms, including digestive problems, sleep disturbances, a dysregulated nervous system and a weakened immune system.

As a recovering perfectionist and someone who tends to rush if I am not mindful, I’ve had to remind myself daily to slow down and go at the pace that is right for me.

Below are some tips to help you create a life that you are less likely to burn out from:

1. Time Management: Prioritizing effective time management can be one of the best ways to reduce the need for the last-minute rush. Planning ahead and breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps can be incredibly helpful. If you find yourself running late, remind yourself that it is not the end of the world, and in general, being a little late on something will not matter as much as you think it will. Give yourself grace.

2. Self-Care: Regular self-care routines, including daily rest, meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises, can help HSPs manage stress and prevent overstimulation. For HSPs, this self-care is a medical necessity not a luxury.

3. Boundaries: Setting clear boundaries in both personal and professional life can protect HSPs from excessive demands and pressures. I know it can be hard, but the more you can honor what is right for you, and stay away from what is not, the less stressed you will be and the easier it will be to go at the pace that is right for you.

4. Communication: Non-sensitive people may not understand our needs as HSPs.

Openly communicating our needs and sensitivities with friends, family, and coworkers can foster understanding and support, rather than having confusing and judgement. Even if you explain, some non-sensitive people may still not understand, but at least you have done your best to be clear. What they are able to hear is on them.

5. Saying No: Learning to say no to additional commitments when feeling overwhelmed is essential for HSPs to protect our well-being. You don’t need to always give a reason, a simple “I can’t” or “that doesn’t work for me” is enough.

6. Daily Reminder: If you notice yourself rushing, stop and take a few deep breaths.

One of the best ways I have found to slow myself down is the affirmation “May I go at the pace that is right for me”. You can repeat this as an intention for your day and remind yourself throughout the day if you notice yourself feeling rushed or pressured.

As Highly sensitive people our unique trait makes us particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of rushing. Our sensitive nervous systems can easily become overwhelmed, leading to emotional distress and physical symptoms. Recognizing the importance of self-care, time management, and setting boundaries can help HSPs preserve our mental and physical health. Ultimately, it is my hope that society will slow down and foster an environment where all humans can thrive without constantly feeling rushed, but until then, we will do our best to stay true to ourselves and go at the pace that is right for us.

Practice slowing down with my on-demand gentle yoga class: No Hurries, No Worries. New to my online community? Join for FREE with my free class pass, or 7-day free membership trial!

With love and sensitivity,



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