Can Impatience Make You Sick?

Remember that old adage “patience is a virtue”?  Well in our instant gratification society in which we demand immediate responses to questions from Alexa and Google, where we expect a returned text in a matter of moments, where automation has speeded up everything, patience is becoming a lost virtue.  The faster things go it appears the more impatient we have become with our workplaces, coworkers, families, and with people at large.  Tonight, as I sit writing this article listening to election results I feel impatient to know the outcome and uncomfortable sitting in the unknown.  I don’t want to wait listen to fast talking commentators I want to know and I want to know right now.  What is the matter with being impatient?  Well it can make you sick.

Having patience means being able to sit (stand or be in any position) calmly and wait, even in the frustration of adversity.  What happens to your body as you stand behind that person in the check out who can’t find his wallet, who counts out his change, who doesn’t have a price tag on the item he is buying? Are you tapping your feet, what is happening in your head?  How high are your shoulders around your ears? How fast is your heart racing?  You are making standing in a line a stressful situation.  Your cortisol levels are increasing, stress hormones are pouring into your body, you are going into sympathetic overload.  Getting into this state of being can lead to headaches, intestinal discomfort, ulcers, decreased immune response, and can interrupt sleep which has a whole set of symptoms unto itself.

I often have people who come to me to be treated with musculoskeletal problems such has neck ache, back pain, headaches, GI problems.  With some gentle listening techniques inclusive of cranial sacral therapy and other manual therapies I can quickly feel an overstimulated sympathetic nervous system.  We can relax the system with these techniques helping to restore and balance the amped up impatient system.

Learning not to become impatient is the second step of recovery.  Lists are often the culprit of much pain and anxiety.  The well thought out list of things that must be accomplished can lead us to a tunnel vision approach to life where doing far exceeds the merits of being.  The need to rush from one activity to the next so all will be accomplished can leave us breathless, exhausted, ungratified, and we can become impatient with anyone or anything that gets in the way of finishing that God awful list. We could honk at non- moving traffic or we can sit and listen to the radio CALMLY because we cannot be in charge of how the traffic moves or when. Not being in control of our time is another place where impatience rares its ugly head.  I can feel my shoulders rise, my chest tighten, my breathing stop as I even write about being in traffic unable to get to the next place, to do the next thing so as to be able to cross it off my list. Relinquishing  “the doing” for the act of being is a great first step to reducing impatience.  One day I sat on our couch on a Sun afternoon doing absolutely nothing.  My husband and I are self described doers.  When he asked me what I was doing I responded “absolutely nothing and I am working really hard at it so you had best leave me alone”.   I was taking the time to just be, not be more, not do more, not to accomplish a completed list.  It felt great giving myself permission not to be impatient with myself of all people.

It takes courage to be patient.  You have to build a tolerance for being uncomfortable with waiting.  Mindfulness training, meditation, being able to accept your current circumstance, resisting the temptation to fix everything, and becoming grateful for what is are all methodologies to becoming more patient.

On that note I will return to awaiting the much anticipated election results calmly. I can’t fix it, I cannot change it (I have voted), there is nothing I can do so I will sit in my discomfort breathing, being grateful for all that I have.  My mantra for overcoming impatience is RBT.  Relax the mind, breath the body and trust the spirit.  Learn patience.  Besides being a virtue it will keep you healthier and happier.

Kim Meyer Pelltier, PT, CST

Contact: Kim 860.208.1535
Email: Healpt@yahoo.com

For more information please visit her website http://www.pelletierphysicaltherapy.com/

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