Is the effect of so little margin in our lives impacting our health? Without margin, we lack the emotional reserves we need to cope with life’s ups and downs.

For example, we understand that if we are asked to carry 10 people on our back, it would be beyond our physical power. How many people can you carry emotionally? Where is the point that emotional weight becomes too much to bear?

“Remember, busy is not necessarily healthy,” says Mark E. Benden, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. “Find opportunities to leave earlier so you are not as rushed. Sleep more. Talk to friends more. Turn off electronic devices and avoid using them alone and during what should be physical exercise or family time.”

Just because technology allows us to multitask doesn’t mean that we always should, insists Dr. Benden. Leave the cell phone off when driving, and don’t substitute online social networking for in-person social networking.

“Be the person on the porch watching the world rush by instead of the one in the vehicle racing off to another worthy but overloading volunteer commitment,” Dr. Benden says. “Strike a balance in the margin in your life, and the return on your health will be significant.”

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