We all wait for something, for someone. Waiting is what we do in the present. We wait in the here and now. It can be the most frustrating and empty feeling of being stuck. We wait for the bus, we wait for an answer, we wait for borders to reopen and if we wind our thoughts around it too often, we’ll find ourselves wrapped tighter than an airport sandwich.
I have two ways to deal with waiting. One, is asking myself if I really need to be waiting for this thing, or person, or if I should simply let them go? By giving myself an option, I take control of the otherwise very passive act of waiting. I can roll the dice of decision around in my head over and over again, until I am happy with the way it lands. By filling the in between time with thinking, I already turn the waiting time into an active thinking time. You just have to let go of the image of being stuck, while you wait for something to happen.
It’s no wonder we get anxious while waiting. Even our brains prefer a short wait better than a long one. Various tests have proven, that the brain gets more excited when the waiting time is shorter - it’s all connected to the amount of dopamine being released during the process.
Another technique of mine is eliminating the word “wait” altogether from my daily vocabulary. Words have immense power, so for me, the best way to work around the wait, is to rename it. I now look forward to things. Looking forward to something has to be good, right? So by using this phrase, I immediately have to transform the sentence to something positive.
For example: if I’m waiting for a response, it holds some tension in it. I’m waiting, the person hasn’t replied. It just keeps inviting unnecessary questions: Why am I not getting an answer? Was my email that bad? Did it land in the spam folder? Should I write another one? But if I think, I’m looking forward to a response, it immediately loses the tension. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not asking myself a million questions while the answer comes. It’s a positive feeling. It’s a lot calmer than waiting.
In my experience, the more you wait for something to happen, the less it will. But if you look forward to it, you are practically inviting all the goodness and positivity of the opportunity. It won’t happen all the time, but at least the time spent waiting for it is time spent letting your brain think of more important things.