There’s an upside to feeling busy all the time

Sometimes, being overwhelmingly busy sucks. It makes you feel all sorts of frantic, it sends your anxiety levels skyrocketing and it can leave you more likely to make a careless mistake. These kinds of reactions are typical when your laundry list is putting you under major time pressure, evoking a bunch of emotional reactions rather than productive ones.

Sometimes, being overwhelmingly busy sucks. It makes you feel all sorts of frantic, it sends your anxiety levels skyrocketing and it can leave you more likely to make a careless mistake. These kinds of reactions are typical when your laundry list is putting you under major time pressure, evoking a bunch of emotional reactions rather than productive ones.

But there are instances when busyness can be a mighty empowering tool in your wellness arsenal. It just comes down to how you perceive yourself in your state of busyness.

The Western world has come to view busyness as a badge of honor and a point of pride. It suggests that your time is filled with a plethora of important things and that you are a critical part of those important things getting done correctly. It can fill you with a sense of purpose and, thus, create what’s called the “busy mindset.”

Approach with confidence

In this mental space, the sense of self-importance can translate into a stronger sense of self-control. So, instead of freaking out and stress-eating (or drinking or smoking) to cope and flailing around until things settle down, you approach the given situation with a sense of confidence, authority and clarity. Your stress becomes manageable and your peripheral choices become healthier as you cross things off that list.

Researchers at Harvard Business School recently conducted eight different studies on the concept of the busy mindset. Some focused on food consumption, some focused on the choice to exercise rather than veg out and some focused on the choice to save money rather than spend it. Across the board, when individuals perceived themselves to be busy consistently for important reasons, their sense of self-control prevailed.

So in these cases, busyness really isn’t a bad thing at all. If you can harness its power, it can help you cut through the clutter of life’s simpler decisions, do what you know will serve you better in the long run and get back to your task at hand.

Now, go on and get after it — you have stuff to do!

This post originally appeared on Swirled.com.