An Epidemic of Urgency
Urgency means requiring swift action and seems to include a nuance of importance. If something is urgent, it is important and needs to be done quickly. Somehow my urgency sensor is stuck in the “on” position. I perceive urgency and react as if my activity is critically urgent when all I’m doing is going to the grocery store or taking a shower. I feel pressure that time is passing and I’m not going to get it all done, or won’t get it done on time. What “all” is and why it has to be done is not clear, if I even consider it. When I drive to the office, there’s an urgency to get there on time. When I’m going through my day, there’s an urgency keep to the schedule. When I’m at the gym, I am focused on getting the workout done so I can get on to the next activity.
Urgency seems to be part of our culture. There’s an emphasis on being fast–fast travel, computers, and communication. Texting is faster than email and seems to be replacing email. It’s easy to get caught up in the need for speed.
I think emotionally sensitive people experience urgency more frequently and intensely than others do. When you’re emotionally sensitive, everyday tasks, interactions, and actions are often not done easily. There’s pressure and urgency to get the right groceries, make a dinner that the family will enjoy, make sure the children are having the right amount of playdates and on and on. Urgency can drain the enjoyment out of parties, lunch dates, and barbecues with friends for both you and others in your life. When you’re feeling urgency, others sense your tension. It’s like you’re a race car driver bent on getting to the finish line, only there is no finish line.
Urgency seems to be related to anxiety for the emotionally sensitive, and maybe to judgments too. It’s like something awful will happen if you are late or if the dinner isn’t just right or if you don’t get back from class in time to do the laundry, so you rush and rush to get it all done. Think about it. Is it really worth your stressing over it?
If you can feel urgency in a way that makes your life better, that would be a different story. So the question, “Is it really worth being urgency?” is an important one. Sometimes you’re feeling urgent about situations and events that don’t really match your values of what is important, what is worth making sure you have time for. Maybe having a sense of urgency to have time with your family or to deepen your connections with your friends would be useful. When you use the word this way, it seems to mean to not act as if you have all the time in the world.
I think mindfulness might be the answer. If you replace urgency with mindfulness, that would decrease the stress and the fear. For example, if you drive mindfully, staying in the moment and not judging, you will arrive with more energy and less frustration. At the same time if you are mindful about your choices, about how you spend your time, then you can make what is important to you a priority.
We are now conducting the research study about emotionally sensitive people. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me to participate. The study involves filling out some questionnaires and participating in a recorded interview about what emotional sensitivity means to you. If you are interested in being interviewed please email me your contact information. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This project has been reviewed by the University of Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (713) 743-9204.
Hall, K. (2013). An Epidemic of Urgency. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 7, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/emotionally-sensitive/2013/09/an-epidemic-of-urgency/