Let’s face it, there are plenty of reasons for us to be impatient. It seems something always goes wrong when we’re in a hurry: The long line at the bank moves too slowly; we are in a traffic jam when we might as well be parked; or something just isn’t happening as quickly as we would like. Many may react by blowing off steam and complain, or cursing until they feel better. Other times, it takes a turn for the worst, and we have a road rage. Regardless, patience is becoming a rare thing.

Who can we blame though? We live in a generation where everything is instantaneous; no wonder we are losing this precious virtue. Instant foods, instant messaging, faster downloads, faster phones and computers; every reason to wait is disappearing in the name of progress. Marketers have mastered the art of capturing and holding your attention within the first 10 seconds of an advertisement. Once they have us, they program us to want everything NOW. It’s exhausting and waiting is becoming too stressful.

Let’s select the pause button for a bit, shall we? In the real world, outside of video games, impulsiveness is rarely a smart way to handle any situation. Unfortunately, the need to stop and think carefully before acting is dying. Stress and stress-related illnesses are becoming as much of a problem as obesity, and nobody wants to wait anymore. Patience and prudence are much more rewarding physically and mentally. We need to rediscover the satisfaction that comes with waiting. Patience will also minimize stress caused by the silly mistakes we make through careless and impulsive actions.

Regardless, no one can be patient by just by knowing that it is a good thing. If that were the case, the entire world would be patient! When we recognize that we are being lured away by a world of instant gratification and its many demands, we can stop and look at where this impulsiveness has led us. Are we better off? Is it worth the stress? Stress and stress-related illnesses are becoming as much of a problem as obesity. Can’t we do something else while we wait in the bank; how about reading a book? Can the traffic jam time be used as a time to unwind after work or school? Sometimes we just need to take a break, step away from the situation and think.

Let’s rediscover how to stop, look and listen before we take the first step. Our health and the quality of our lives will improve when we do.

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