Time and Stress

Einstein said imagination is more important than intelligence.
Probably because your problems are your imaginations.

Stress and the lack of time go hand in hand.  When we feel we don’t have enough time, we often panic! I find that I feel stressed when I’m “running out of time.”  This has led me to realize that most of our stress traces back to this consistent perception that we don’t have enough time.

When we are stressed, we often focus on the amount of work we need to do that’s stressing us out.  But the real fact is that it’s the amount of work we have to do in such a short amount of time that’s truly stressing us out.
Case in point: It’s not the laundry itself that’s stressful.  It’s finding the time to do the laundry that’s stressful.

Some other examples:

  • If I’m driving somewhere and I hit a traffic jam, I realize I get stressed out not because of the traffic, but because I’m going to be late to where I was going.
  • When the deadline for a bill is near, I may panic, not because of the bill, but because I don’t have enough money to pay for it yet (but probably will by the due date).
  • If I’m studying for a test or writing a paper and realize there’s only a couple days left and I’m not ready, I start to panic, again because of this idea that time is running out.

We Are Bred To Obey The Clock

We are taught from a young age to be driven by the clock.  There isn’t a room in a school that doesn’t have a clock.  We are taught to think sequentially and always be doing one thing after another.  Even from a young age we learn the adage that “time is money.”  As a result…

  • When we waste time, we often feel annoyed or guilty with ourselves for not getting tasks accomplished.
  • When other people waste our time we may become frustrated and impatient.
  • When we want to give more of our time to others and we cannot (like friends or family), we grow concerned that we are failing those closest to us.
  • Even when we have lots of time, we may get irritated that we’re not being productive enough!

Instead, see time as abundant, like a river that’s always coming and going.

When I went to a recent vacation in Mexico, I was watching the cashier slowly bagging my items while there was a long line of customers waiting and my friend whispered to me, “Man, these people are lazy.” And I said, “No, they’re not lazy at all actually.  It’s just that they’re not trained to do everything in a rush like us.  They don’t care that there’s a long line.  They know how to chill.  They know how to live.”

My point is that other cultures actually enjoy their time.  They see time as abundant, like a river that’s flowing.  Always coming and going.  It’s nice to think of money like that too, by the way.  Money comes and goes.  Time comes and goes.  It is what it is.  Ever notice how if you go to a restaurant outside of the US, the waiter won’t immediately bring the check right after you finish your food?  It’s because dinner is intended to be a pleasurable experience and the restaurant manager isn’t putting pressure on the waiter to turn tables and increase revenue. Chilling-out is a long-lost forgotten art in the US.

Take the control back; You are not a slave to the clock

  • If you’re a business owner, learn to outsource!  Delegate responsibilities.  You don’t have to do every single little thing.  Yes, you will be paying for it but what’s more important, your sanity or your money?  (Without health, you have nothing.)
  • Prioritize your work: Setting realistic deadlines for tasks helps prioritize your work.  It also gives focus.  (Read Life’s to do list)
  • Learn to say No: Say no to requests that are not important.  You don’t have to do everything and take on every project.

When was the last time you did nothing but listened to the silence of your soul?

I’m simply trying to make you more aware as to what is really causing some of your stress.  We cannot control traffic jams or turn back time, but we can control our reactions.  Learn how to slow the mind and concentrate on your breathing.  Straighten up your posture, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly.  Relax your muscles.  Relax your jaw.  Relax your butt (you might be butt-gripping even while sitting).  Let the shoulders drop (they’re probably always hunched up!).  Things like that. Find your moment of zen amidst the chaos.  We cannot continue to make excuses for not taking care of ourselves due to “not enough time” without compromising our health. Learn to control your reactions to these situations, and step back and take a deep breath. Your body and mind will thank you each time.


  • Araik

    as a person who is always stressed, this helped me a lot – You’ve been a blessing to my life in many ways since the moment i’ve met you and I will do anything I can to be as good of a friend back

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Aww thanks!!!