We all get impatient at times, especially in our fast-paced world. In fact, new neuro-scientific evidence proves that the hurried, multi-tasking world we interact within has fundamentally rewired our brains to expect instant gratification, or at least quickresults. This means that patience is becoming less the norm.
Our brains were originally wired to keep moving and acting, so that we were able to remain safe. Our fight or flight response served us well in past times. But now, we and our brains have rewired themselves to expect things, outcomes and people to move even faster…and not for important reasons like survival.
Why Patience is Still Important
Now we want to do everything as quickly as possible so that we can keep up with the Jones, stay ahead at work, get as much done as possible each day…and then drop into our beds, exhausted. This lifestyle not only kills our peace of mind, it also negatively impacts our physical health, spiritual health, emotional health and relationships.
We have less time for ourselves and our families. We put high demands on them to hurry them along. But instead of doing that, it seems to make things worse! They slow down. But is this only our perception?
When we are impatient, we tend to overdramatize the importance of whatever event or location we are rushing to.
We blow things out of proportion. We make mountains out of molehills. We put the importance of getting, doing and having above that of our loved ones.
We judge people who “stop and smell the roses” as wimps who can’t take the pressure of the modern world or as lazy, because they aren’t struggling and doing, doing, doing like everyone else.
But what is all of this impatient struggling really getting us?
- Common road rage
- Being judgemental
- Fear of what others think
- Dysfunctional work relationships
- Relationship breakdown
- Stress-induced illnesses
- Raising rates of depression and anxiety, even in our youth
- More people dying from heart attacks
- Materialism that sucks our souls dry
- Pushing our children to succeed at everything
- Emotional and physical violence
- Use of mind altering drugs, prescribed and illicit.
Impatience causes stress.
Now, stress is a part of life that we can’t get away from. And, believe it or not, some stress is healthy for us. We all get stressed out. What’s important is how we deal with that stress that matters. Do we come home and yell at the kids because our boss has been breathing down our neck at work? Do we kick the dog because our kid didn’t take out the trash…again? Do we drive too close to the car in front of us because we are in a hurry, and have so much to do at the office that we are trying to get in early?
Impatience has been linked to physical damage such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, anxiety disorders and depression. It can break down relationships. It can cause people to avoid us because they get tired of being ridiculed when our expectations not being met. All in all, our hyper-paced world isn’t as great as we have built it up to be.
So What Makes You Impatient?
No one is always patient. We all have things that trigger us to lose our patience from time to time. It may be technology that doesn’t work as it should, inconsiderate drivers or our kids who take their time getting ready for school or day care, and make us late for work on a regular basis.
But, patience is a skill you can develop if you want to live a happier, more peaceful life. The first step is to notice what triggers your impatience and to begin to notice how it causes you to react. These techniques can help you start to recognize what triggers your impatience.
- Keep a journal or a simple list of all the times you get impatient over a few days.
- Notice if you tend to get more impatient when there are physical issues such as being hungry, thirsty or sleep deprived. These are things that can be easily remedied to prevent a lot of impatient behavior.
- Ask your friends and family what they notice about what triggers your impatience. If you are around them a lot, they will probably be able to list off things you hadn’t considered.
- Notice how you feel the next time you are impatient. More than likely, you’re not going to feel great. You might feel anxious or angry. Your heart may race, your temperature may rise and your breathing become shallow, for example.
Once you have a better understanding of what makes you feel impatient and how you feel when you are, you can start to take action to improve your patience and your life.