Rushing: Causes, Signs, and How to Break this Unproductive Habit

Katie Rapkoch, CHPC

Published on

July 3, 2024

Updated on

May 1, 2024

Medically reviewed by

Ben Ahrens, HHP

In today’s busy, high-pressure society, rushing has become commonplace. People rush from place to place and task to task, as if in a mad race against the clock. While people may think rushing is helping them accomplish more, the reality is that it’s counterproductive, both in terms of productivity and well-being. At its core, rushing is simply old, preprogrammed physiology that operates mostly on three stress chemicals: cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine (collectively abbreviated as CAN). When these stress hormones are constantly stimulated, we become addicted to them, craving the feelings they promote. Over time, rushing becomes our new normal and we forget what it feels like to do things in a calm manner. Thankfully, your habit of rushing can be broken by incrementally shifting over to a DOSE state, which stands for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. These are feel-good neurotransmitters[1] that are responsible for feelings of calmness, contentment, and happiness. In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about rushing, including how re-origin, a neuroplasticity-based treatment program, can help you eliminate this unproductive habit, replacing it with the ability to move through life in a calm, yet productive way.

How do you know when you’re rushing?

Rushing can become such an automatic, ingrained habit that it can be difficult to even realize you’re doing it. Here are some signs that may suggest you’ve fallen into the rushing trap:

  • Moving quickly while doing any activity or task, such as walking, doing dishes, or taking a shower
  • Speeding in your car
  • Talking quickly
  • Not truly listening to what other people are saying
  • Always thinking about your next task
  • Frequently performing time calculations in your head to see whether or not you can fit in another task
  • Constantly feeling like you don’t have enough time
  • Falling subject to the myth of multitasking[2]
  • Constantly trying to find ways to save time
  • Feeling irritable when you face delays
  • Frequently running through your to-do list
  • Frequently feeling frazzled, anxious, or on edge
  • Experiencing physical sensations, such as heart palpitations or a feeling of having excess energy

It’s very common for chronic rushers to also have one or more limbic system conditions, such as chronic Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, OCD, anxiety, or depression. This is because, in these conditions, the limbic system is stuck in overdrive, causing people to feel on edge or as if there’s constantly something to fix. These feelings can stimulate and perpetuate the habit of rushing.

Why you want to avoid rushing

While people may think that they’re simply being productive, the reality is that rushing is not helpful, both in terms of your productivity and your well-being. In terms of productivity, trying to do things faster or more hastily increases the chances of mistakes and injuries and generally leads to a lower quality of work than if you slowed down and completed tasks in a more mindful way. There’s a saying from the U.S. Navy Seals that says, “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” It’s a reminder that the best way to successfully and efficiently complete tasks is to slow down and take your time. In terms of well-being, rushing increases stress hormones circulating in your body[3], namely cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, also known as the “CAN state.” When in this state[4], not only will you feel frazzled and anxious, but certain systems in your body, such as your digestive system and immune system, won’t function optimally. On top of that, if you’re struggling with a limbic system condition, such as fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, or post-viral fatigue, rushing can further stimulate the part of the brain (the limbic system) that is causing the dysfunction. This is because when you rush, you’re producing energy that makes your brain think there’s some sort of danger present. In response, it will stimulate your sympathetic nervous system to give you the bodily resources to protect yourself. Unfortunately, this energy is the exact opposite type of energy that you want to have when trying to recover from a limbic system condition, as being in a state of fight-or-flight further activates the limbic system, thereby worsening symptoms.

Ways you can put an end to rushing

The most effective way to permanently overcome your habit of rushing is through neuroplasticity, however, this approach is not yet common knowledge. As such, people often turn to a number of other methods in an effort to put an end to rushing. Before we get into how to address your rushing habit with neuroplasticity, let’s go over some of the common methods people turn to for overcoming rushing:


Speaking with a therapist can help you learn to recognize your habit of rushing and make positive changes. The most common type of therapy used for this is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). While CBT has been shown to be safe and effective, its effectiveness can depend on the skill of the therapist leading the therapy. Additionally, therapy sessions can be expensive, making them inaccessible to many people due to the cost.


Antidepressants or benzodiazepines are sometimes used to help people calm their nervous systems down, allowing them to adopt a slower pace of living. While medications can be helpful for certain people in helping them slow down, the major downside is that these medications don’t permanently repair the root neurological cause of rushing. A person may feel like they’re more in control when on the medications, however, when they discontinue the medication, their rushing habit is likely to pick right back up.

Additionally, antidepressants come with a long list of potential side effects and many people have difficulty discontinuing use. Benzodiazepines are typically even more difficult to discontinue and carry the risk of addiction.

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are other common practices that are used to combat rushing. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Meditation is a practice that promotes mindfulness and involves quietly sitting with your eyes closed while you pay attention to your breath. Both of these practices are very helpful when it comes to overcoming rushing, as they can help you become aware of your habit. However, many mediators report that the internal feeling of rushing resumes directly post meditation session. We believe that this is the result of the limbic system which has become conditioned to be hyperactive, and requires specific reconditioning or “rewiring” in order to truly settle once and for all.

re-origin uses components of mindfulness in its program, but also teaches people how to replace the faulty neural pathways of rushing with new, functional neural pathways of calmness.

Rewiring the rushing brain

To overcome your habit of rushing once and for all, it’s important to understand a couple of key points. Number one, rushing is a myth! You may think you can get more done by rushing, but in reality, moving too quickly through activities hinders your ability to do them effectively. It leads to lower-quality results, increases your risk of making mistakes[5] or hurting yourself, and causes your body to enter into a state of fight-or-flight. Remember, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast! Number two, it’s important to understand that rushing is simply an addiction to intensity and other feelings stimulated by the release of cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. As soon as you become aware of this, even just by reading this article, you open the door to a different possibility and way of being. So, when those familiar rushing thoughts come up such as “There’s not enough time!” or “There’s too much to do, I’ll never get it all done,” you can choose to indulge these thoughts and enter into the rushing cycle or you can choose to acknowledge the thoughts as unproductive neural pathways in your brain, take a step back, and re-write the script by telling your subconscious mind that there is no need to rush and that it’s actually an unproductive habit. From there, you can re-engage in whatever activity you were doing in a calm, mindful way, activating your DOSE chemistry[6] rather than your CAN chemistry. By doing this over and over with the help of re-origin’s proprietary neuroplasticity training, you’ll be retraining your brain to break your habit of rushing.

A Final Word from re-origin

Let’s face it, life is busy. Between work, family life, friends, hobbies, and other responsibilities, it can feel like you have very little time. As such, you may find yourself rushing through life, believing that this is helping you accomplish more. As we’ve discussed today, however, rushing is an unhelpful habit that reduces your productivity and ultimately your well-being. In terms of overcoming limbic system conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or multiple chemical sensitivities, rushing is particularly counterproductive. It further stimulates the limbic system in the brain, perpetuating a maladaptive stress response. If you’re looking to overcome rushing, either on its own or in combination with a limbic system condition, look no further than re-origin. With our proprietary neuroplasticity training, you can undo your habit of rushing, allowing you to live a more peaceful, productive, healthy life. Learn more about the re-origin program today.


What causes that rushing feeling?
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The feeling of energy or stimulation you feel when rushing is mainly due to the release of three hormones: cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones are released in response to stress and help your body fight or flee a perceived threat. In the case of rushing, however, there isn’t actually any threat. Your body just thinks there is because of your behavior.

What are the symptoms of too much adrenaline in your body?
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Adrenaline, also known as the “fight-or-flight hormone” is released in response to a stressful, exciting, dangerous, or threatening situation. Rushing can trigger the release of adrenaline, leading to symptoms[7] such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, anxiety, sweating, and palpitations.

How do I stop adrenaline rushes that lead to anxiety?
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If you’re in actual danger, an adrenaline rush is actually a good thing. Adrenaline helps your body react more quickly. It makes your heart beat faster, increases blood flow to your brain and muscles, and stimulates your body to make sugar to use for fuel. When you rush, however, adrenaline is stimulated even though there isn’t actually any threat.

You don’t want to stop adrenaline rushes in the face of real danger, however, you can and should stop adrenaline rushes that occur when there is no real danger. With re-origin’s neuroplasticity program, you can retrain your brain to stop rushing which, in turn, will prevent one source of inappropriate rushes of adrenaline that can lead to anxiety.

Why do I get random adrenaline rushes?
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Adrenaline rushes can occur for a number of reasons, one of which is due to rushing. When you move quickly and hastily through tasks or activities, your brain gets the message that you’re in danger. In response, it will release adrenaline.

What are rushing anxiety symptoms?
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When you rush, many symptoms relating to anxiety can occur, including heart palpitations, feeling nervous, scared, or on edge, and sweating. Don’t be fooled by these symptoms! You’re not actually in any danger. They’re just your body’s response to rushing around. When you work to rewire your brain to break your rushing habit, these anxiety-like symptoms will cease.


Katie Rapkoch, CHPC