If the waiting game gets your foot tapping, or flips your worries into overdrive, listen up. A study at Northwestern University found that people who find it hard to wait are 84% more likely to develop high blood pressure. High blood pressure has been shown to raise your risk for heart attack and stroke. So, here’s how to practice patience, courtesy of J.J. Ryan, life coach and author of This Year I Will... We found her tips in Self magazine:
- Standing in an endless line. The fix: Tell yourself it’s not life-or-death if you don’t get service in the next five minutes. Instead, visualize a calming activity – like lying on a beach, or sitting beside a waterfall. Studies show that “vacation visualization” refocuses your attention and reduces tension, keeping you from becoming a giant ball of stress.
- Waiting for a phone call. Instead of fearing the worst – like your doctor’s afraid to give you bad news, or your kid’s been in an accident - think of three reasons why you haven’t heard from them yet. Like, maybe your doctor’s away or your kid’s in an area with bad cell reception. Fear and logic are processed in different parts of the brain and you can’t focus on both at the same time. So, putting on your “logic hat” will keep you from panicking.
- A friend always tells never-ending stories and you wish they’d get to the point. Ryan says that empathy is key. Put yourself in their shoes, and remember a time when you needed their patience while telling a story. You’ll also be less tense if you deal with them when it’s convenient for you. So, if their number pops up on caller ID, and you’re not ready for a long talk, let the call go to voicemail.
- Counting down to a big event like an upcoming concert or your brother’s wedding. Instead of thinking “it’s NEVER gonna happen!” - spread out the excitement by imagining what it’ll be like. Studies show that simply anticipating something positive boosts your mood as much as the actual experience does.