#053 Sense of Time Urgency and Heart Attack Risk

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Sense of Time Urgency and Heart Attack Risk

Do any of these statements describe you?

1. I usually feel pressed for time.
2. I eat too quickly.
3. I get upset if I have to wait.

If any of these statements describe you then your risk of a heart attack is four times higher according to the results of this study.

Time Urgency and Risk of Heart Attack Study

In this study, researchers evaluated 680 people. Of these 680 people, 340 had suffered a heart attack and 340 had not. These researchers found that those people who had suffered a heart attack were much more likely to identify with these three statements.

The Stress Response

What makes someone who answered “yes” to these three statements more at risk for a heart attack? I suspect that it is due to the stress response.

People who are experiencing chronic stress have much higher levels of cortisol and adrenalin. While these stress hormones can be beneficial during short periods of stress, the problem is that if the stress never goes away these same stress hormones can wear out the heart and the body.

My Three Strategies to Answer “No” to These Three Statements

How can we turn a “yes” to the three statements above into a “no?” Let me share with you the three things that I have found to help me control my sense of time urgency and impatience.

1. Try to Arrive 15 Minutes Early

I admit that I am guilty of racing the clock or a sense of time urgency. I have found that if I try to arrive somewhere 15 minutes early then my stress levels are much lower and I can be “in the moment.”

This extra 15 minutes allows for unexpected things that may arise.  It buffers in extra time if traffic is slow or your child cannot find where they placed their shoes.

2. Engage in Meaningful Conversation While Eating

Once again, if I am not careful I can literally inhale my food. Eating fast is not only bad for our heart but also leads to overeating, which creates a myriad of health problems.

To help me slow down I try to engage in meaningful conversation. I try to engage colleagues while eating at work and my family while eating at home.

3. Always Bring Something to Do

If we always have something with us that we can do, then if an unexpected delay arises, we won’t mind waiting.  It always amazes me that most of my patients who come to see me in clinic don’t bring something to do.  I would like to think this is because they know I am always running on time but I know this is not the case.

Always bring along a good book or even your iPad or a laptop. You might actually enjoy an extra minute or two to yourself while waiting.

What will you do to help you answer “no” to these three statements?

1. I usually feel pressed for time.

2. I eat too quickly.

3. I get upset if I have to wait.

How is slowing down and reducing your sense of time urgency helping you?

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