Whether we admit it or not, waiting is just a part of life. We wait in queues, we wait at traffic lights, we wait for our kids to get their shoes on to get out the door to go to school in the morning. We wait in shopping centres and we even have ‘waiting’ rooms when you visit the doctor.
Now stop and think for a moment, where does your mind go when you’re waiting and how does this waiting make you feel? Are you getting more anxious? Are you getting stressed out? Are you getting more upset or uptight?
I read an interesting article recently that said the reason that we often feel like this when we are alone and waiting is actually a throwback to the days when being alone meant you weren’t protected by your tribe and your safety was under threat. When we’re waiting we’re inclined to reach for our phone or a book or anything to keep us distracted so we’re not alone anymore. This is not a good result because the more this happens, the stronger these neurons in our brain get, solidifying those feelings of stress and anxiety.
The thing is, we have a choice. We can have attach to either of these negative feelings OR we can actually mindfully wait. We can simply expand our awareness to what is happening in this moment of waiting and observe our response to it.
Rather than getting anxious, wouldn’t it be great if could actually spend that time of waiting more constructively? ‘But how?’, you may ask. By tapping into your breath and doing some nice deep belly breaths. You’ll find that instantly you’ll be more calm in a situation and can use the waiting time as an opportunity to just press pause on what might be a busy day. We don’t get too much time for ourselves these days so we can actually use mindful waiting as an opportunity to be with yourself instead of getting out your mobile and quickly checking social media and your emails filling up your mind with more ‘stuff’.. We all say we want more time, with less stress, well waiting is a great opportunity to take some time for yourself and slow down.