Why is it so hard to be patient and what can we do about it?
So often we are frustrated with the timing of things- job changes, marriage, weight loss, you name it. We want things to happen quickly (I know I do). So what’s the reasoning behind this great impatience and what can we do about it?
Some reasons it’s hard to be patient:
We are really uncomfortable!
The most typical reason people want quick movement in their life is because something is making them uncomfortable. It could be financial trouble, loneliness, insecurity in their relationship, or career concerns. The hope is that if something changes, our feelings will change and we will be more comfortable as a result. And seriously, the faster the better.
New information helps us plan
If you’re like me you love to have a life plan. As much as I’ve found the old adage about “the best laid plans” is completely true, my brain still searches for ways to organize my next steps. Without knowing if we are getting that big promotion, getting married, or even what a medical diagnosis is, we can’t mentally create the picture of what’s beyond it.
What can we do about it?
Become more comfortable with the discomfort
Use the time to examine the root of the discomfort and see if the change you are waiting for will actually fix the problem. Does a new relationship always make you feel less lonely, make you more financially secure, and increase happiness? Ahhh, “No”.
Meditation really does help- even 5 or 10 minutes per day
There are lots of apps to help you with this (www.headspace.com is a great one), but any kind of stillness and breathing will do the trick. Especially when I’m feeling impatient, I throw a mantra in there about letting the universe give me what it’s got for me.
If you are waiting to make a plan, feel free to plan
Sometimes having a sense of control in our lives is exactly what we are looking for. As much as we try to be ok “in the gray”, do what you can to exert a little control. Try to lay out several options for plans beyond what you’re waiting for. Diagrams, lists, and buying new pens and notebooks reduce my anxiety every time.
Be aware of your coping strategies
Make a list of how you usually cope with uncomfortable life events and strategize how to manage in a healthy way. Remember, you’re going to want to reduce discomfort. Drinking, emotional closeness (sometimes the unhealthy kind), and eating fatty/ carby foods will temporarily change how we feel. I’d recommend substituting or limiting your usage of unhealthy behaviors in order to reduce lasting negative impact in your life.
Take care of your basics
Sometimes while we are waiting for things to happen is the absolute best time to take care of stuff. Clean your home, get to the gym, organize your taxes. Nothing you probably want to do, but if a big change is coming, you might as well be ready. It will also give you that sense of control you’ve been looking for.
Remember, the best advice from the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need.”
Follow these tips while you’re waiting and know you can handle anything that comes your way!
Dr. Lynn Saladino
I am a New Yorker, a clinical psychologist, a fitness and food lover, and a woman on a quest to bring a REAL spin to finding balance in crazy city life. As my clients know, there isn't much I won't say whether it be about sex, relationships, crappy bosses, or "strange" eating habits. The goal of this blog is to share what I'm learning to make living in this urban amusement park as amazing as it can be.