Have you ever considered how the passing of time is relevant to your current situation? When you have a million things to do there never seems to be enough time. When sitting in traffic, time crawls about as slowly as you do. Kids grow up in the blink of an eye, waiting for a table at a restaurant takes ages, and summer turns to fall before you’re even close to being ready.
When time stretches, it’s usually because we’re doing something we either don’t enjoy or because we’re waiting to do something that’s more exciting. For example, consider how long it feels when you are:
- Working for three more hours before the weekend begins
- Waiting in line for a rollercoaster ride
- Waiting to deboard a flight for a vacation
It’s tempting to tap a foot, huff in frustration, or get angry during these kinds of situations. Why can’t people get their bags more quickly? Did the rollercoaster break down, or are people just not moving forward? Why did my boss not get this assignment to me sooner so that I could enjoy my Friday night?
Instead of dwelling on these longer moments, we should learn to embrace them. In this day and age patience has become a lost value. We struggle to understand how to find the joy in an unexpected period of waiting.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu
The next time you’re stuck waiting, consider your perception of time. You’re probably dwelling on the circumstances that stopped you, and running through solutions in your head to problems you can’t actually solve. Instead of pulling that smartphone out of your pocket and trying to distract yourself, try moving your focus externally by:
- Doing a simple meditation exercise
Close your eyes (if not driving, of course), take a deep and slow five-count breath through your nose, hold it for a moment at the top of the inhale, then slowly exhale through your mouth for another five-counts. Repeat five times.
- Consider where you are with your life goals
Reflect on where you are in life, and the things you still want to achieve. Use this time to think about where you need to tweak things or come up with a one-word goal to accomplish.
- Practice your social skills
Talking to new people can be intimidating when you aren’t used to doing it regularly. Notice the other people around you and give someone a compliment. Ask someone who’s getting impatient what they’re running late for. The time is probably dragging for them too, so this is a win-win tactic for everyone!
We all have moments in our lives when time seems to drag. But changing your perception of that time is what will help you lead a much happier life.
[Credit: Odyssey Online. “Your Wait Time at Theme Parks is Not Unfair, You’re Just Impatient.”]