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.