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The world’s newest addiction

Overwhelmed?

Stressed out?

Just plain too busy?

These days, it seems that if you aren’t too busy, then you must be doing something wrong.

Chronic “busyness” — the need to do all and be all —is the world’s newest addiction.

Overextending oneself is a habit that’s generally endorsed, but it’s one that’s been associated with a growing list of maladies, including headaches, frequent colds, heartburn, decreased libido, depression, changes in appetite, insomnia, forgetfulness, irritability … and the list goes on.

Summer — when the children are out of school, lots of tourists are in town and friends and relatives are visiting — is one of the most stressful seasons. We all hunker down and endure it.

Another major factor driving an ongoing “busyness” is the proliferation of technology. Many of the tools that have been designed to make life easier and more efficient have, in fact, inadvertently conspired against us. Yes, e-mail, faxes and phones permit instantaneous global communication, but they’ve also become a constant distraction. Some years ago, a fellow participant in the Las Vegas Marathon took a social call on his cell phone at mile 18. He’s too busy to run a race.

Daily life, in general, also tends to overwhelm us, if we’re not careful. Between business, pressures and the demands of our family and personal relationships, it’s far too easy to wind up with a crazy, overbooked schedule.

Let’s decide what’s most important in our lives, and then create a sane, sensible schedule. It takes time to do so, but it’s time well spent, and will go a long way toward increasing productivity and reducing stress.

Another big stress reducer?

No surprise here: it’s exercise. Pursue activities you enjoy. And when you support the effort with a good nutritional foundation, the body will be primed to function at its peak.

I admit it’s hard to fit it all in sometimes, but it can — and must — be scheduled. You have to make it a priority.

The bottom line is to simply focus more on what will increase your quality of life.