Transforming Impatience

“Hurry up and wait” is an expression that is frequently difficult to live with for many people. It seems that there is a collective impatience operating in many areas of life these days. You may be observing this in grocery stores, in traffic, at work and at home. It turns out that impatience is nothing new for human beings, but maybe now it seems more widespread.

Recently, we heard someone ask, “where is everyone going so quickly?” What a great question that is. If someone is prone to impatience, once they arrive at one destination or goal, they urgently plow ahead to the next place. Is that you? If it is, you have probably experienced a sense of physical and mental tension that can waylay your best thinking and common sense. Impatience causes more problems than it solves.

Those with “hurry sickness” typically suffer physical, mental and emotional repercussions. They have a chronic sense of unrest and an inability to truly relax. Those who tend to be impatient are usually confused about what patience looks like and how to get there.

Here are some tried-and-true suggestions to help you shift unhealthy impatience patterns:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply. We have mentioned this in previous columns, and we say it again because it is perhaps the most direct, effective way to intervene on yourself.
  • Reason with yourself. Whether you’re stuck in a traffic jam or if someone doesn’t see things your way, do your best to be reasonable in how you respond.
  • Mentally slow everything down as it is unfolding. You likely have more control to do this than you may think.
  • Ask yourself whether the situation is truly life or death. Without question, most things are not.
  • Consider the downside of indulging your current bout of impatience. The implications to your health and relationships probably are not worth the indulgence.


Consider what it means to be refined. Typically, it might mean having cultured elegance in manner and behavior. To be described as refined can suggest someone with a high-quality way of operating, a person with sensibility.

Refinement can also be described as the improvement of something through small, incremental changes. Utilizing this definition can be helpful when considering attainment of your goals. The tendency can be to attempt sweeping changes in some way, especially at the first of the year. Thinking instead of making refinements can make the intended changes less daunting.

Let’s use the example of excessive alcohol consumption. In this example, let’s say you consumed excessive alcohol over the holiday season. You created a habit that doesn’t serve you well because you don’t awaken with energy and vitality. What is a refined way to approach this pattern?

First, know this is your decision and that you can make a different choice at any point. This eliminates any “shoulds” that seldom work in a sustained way. Secondly, take a reasonable approach. Radical change too quickly usually results in inner rebellion. And that lends itself to failure. Instead, start with small, but definite steps toward your goal.

Step down on the amount you’re consuming by sipping drinks slowly and mindfully. Give yourself a predetermined limit. Build in your success by pairing your alcoholic drink with a mocktail or perhaps water with lemon or lime. Taking this kind of approach is more practical for many people. But if you are having serious drinking issues such as blackouts, DUIs, explosive arguments, and performance problems, a more serious refinement such as treatment or other interventions may be needed. Barring that, the approach mentioned above is a solid way to increase the possibility of success. You can apply this refinement idea to other goals, too. Reach out to us today for support in reaching your goals!