We spend much of our lives waiting, but we rarely receive any instructions on how to do it. In fact, technology seems to be making it more difficult for us. You may have heard the statistic that about half the population abandons a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to open.
Of course, things move much slower offline at doctor’s offices and amusement parks. If you’re feeling frustrated, try these strategies to make waiting more comfortable in some of the most common and challenging situations.
Waiting for News
It could be something life-altering like a medical exam or a job interview, or you might just be curious about the package that’s supposed to be delivered today. Either way, how can you go on with your life when you want resolution?
Try these tips:
1. Practice mindfulness. Daily meditation trains your mind to remain in the present instead of worrying about the future or reliving the past. You’ll be able to concentrate on what you’re doing until the results come in.
2. View yourself objectively. Do you sometimes tie your self-worth to externals like the feedback you receive at work? Building up your confidence can keep you balanced.
3. Accept uncertainty. Life is full of ambiguity and changes. When you acknowledge that reality, you can stop wasting energy by fighting with it.
4. Think positive. A cheerful outlook makes you happier and more productive. You’re a winner whether you get the news you want or find a way to bounce back from disappointment.
Waiting for Love
Maybe you see your friends partnering up, and you feel like you’re missing out on something. Remember that you can live a happy and meaningful life regardless of your relationship status.
While waiting for a romantic relationship, devote your energy to other actions, like these:
1. Develop your interests. Pursue your goals now instead of waiting for marriage or any arbitrary milestone to occur. As a side benefit, you’ll be more interesting if you run into a potential partner.
2. Boost your self-esteem. Know that you are worthy of love and respect. Strive to be a superior version of you instead of comparing yourself to others. Treat yourself and others with generosity and compassion.
3. Hang out with friends. Being single doesn’t have to mean being lonely. Nurture long-term friendships and reach out to new acquaintances. Throw parties and plan group vacations.
4. Evaluate your approach. If you are interested in a romantic relationship, be honest with yourself about any obstacles you may be placing in the way of your future. Identify patterns in your dating history that you would like to change. Consider counseling if you need assistance.
Waiting in Line
Ordinary events like standing around at the grocery store may seem trivial, but dealing with them on a frequent basis can affect your mood.
Take the stress out of queuing up by using these strategies:
1. Control what you can. There are many options that can help you reclaim some of the time you spend waiting. Have your groceries delivered or go to the market at nonpeak times. Fill out the necessary forms online before you visit your doctor or a government agency.
2. Occupy your time. When you do have to wait, find a constructive distraction. Use your phone to research projects for work. Chat with the interesting stranger next to you or read a magazine.
3. Seek information. Waiting is less stressful when you know what is happening. If possible, find out the average wait times in advance and ask for updates.
4. Look calm. Appearing patient can make you feel more relaxed. Take a few deep breaths and stretch your limbs.
Be mindful and patient whether you’re waiting at the airport or by your phone. Time will go by faster and you’ll feel less anxious.