Many people come to me saying they feel “overwhelmed” - like they are “running fast to nowhere” or being “spread too thin” and struggling to “keep it all together.” Do these words seem familiar to you? These are all classic symptoms of Treadmill Syndrome.

Me: “Hey what are you doing?”.
Friend: “I’m running”.
Me: “Cool. Where to?”.
Friend: “I have no idea!”.
Me: “Then why are you running?. ” Friend: “Coz everyone else is!”.

Research shows that when you pursue something, just because other people have it, the happiness you experience wears off quickly. And so, you run to find the next thing, in the search for happiness and gratification.

Our contemporary lifestyle doesn't leave much time to slow down and evaluate. The focus is on pushing harder because everyone around us is. Eventually, you feel like you are running all the time, and still not making any progress… and so you run harder and faster. Hence, this becomes a cycle that is hard to break, and before you know it, you lose so much of your time. It’s exhausting!

Do you identify with any of the following?

  • You have a constant feeling of not being or not having ‘enough’. Whether it's money, material things, your career, relationships. You believe you need and want more.
  • You are always looking for perfection, and don't stop until you find it.
  • You find it hard to let go of control, whether in your personal life or at work. Delegation does not come naturally to you.
  • You find it hard to make your own choices and spend more time and energy doing what pleases those around you. It’s difficult to say “No”.

If these points do resonate with you, it’s time to think about whether you are truly devoting your time and energy in a meaningful way, or whether you are stuck in a rut, or on a ‘treadmill’. Are you really in control of your life?

Here are some powerful strategies to get off the treadmill

  • Don’t allow short-term gratifications/distractions to rule your life.
  • Stop comparing.
  • Be sure your life includes several small pleasures... Get that cup of coffee. Call that friend for a quick laugh. Read the book.
  • Commit to one random act of kindness each day. It will add a lot of joy to your life.
  • Learn to say no, especially to people or activities that don’t add value.
  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. So that you have time for things that really matter to you.
  • Give up the need for control. Surrender and trust that things will work out well.

Practicing these powerful strategies will help you get off the proverbial treadmill. They will help you shift your focus inward and not on what everyone else is running after. And hence, they will bring more peace and happiness to your life.

Take a moment through the day, and pen down - What are the 3 things you commit to do to get off the treadmill?