Chill out instead of stressing out.
Throughout your day you’ll have moments of waiting.
You’re five minutes early for a meeting.
You’re in line at the post office or grocery store.
You’re waiting for your significant other at the restaurant.
Customer service calls.
At the car shop.
As an athlete, you’ll have LOTS of moments of downtime, between events, weather delays, changes In heats, etc. The better you are at adapting, the better you’ll be able to recover and respond.
Sometimes the waiting can be viewed as an annoyance and you’ll start to feel agitated by the inconvenience. Or, you can see it as a chance to chill for a couple of minutes and it’s no big deal.
If you want to be more calm and less stressed, waiting moments are a perfect time to practice patience. You can learn to keep yourself from getting annoyed, bitter, angry or upset.
When things aren’t going our way or are taking longer than expected, we tend to think that something external is causing our impatience. It’s actually our view of the situation.
When you’re waiting…you have choices. When you start to feel frustrated or impatient, you can use that time and find the opportunity instead.
Here are a few things to try (and if you’re an athlete these practices will improve your mental game).
1. First and foremost, start thinking, “Thank you.”
If you want to squash frustration or annoyance, just be grateful. At the very least think, “This can be a good thing.” Think of the waiting as an opportunity to slow down.
Even if you’re not really glad that you’re waiting, it will help give you another perspective to look at it as an opportunity instead of an inconvenience to your schedule. Consider all of the things that are positive. Then, try one of the following strategies.
2. Practice tuning into your breath.
Try square breathing, 1-2 breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. Heck, just take 5-20 deep breaths and you’ll feel a lot better and the wait will probably be over or almost over. Here are some mp3 downloads to practice.
Sometimes, while standing in line, instead of grabbing my phone and scrolling social media or responding to texts, I’ll just start counting. I’ll play a little game with myself and guess how many seconds it’ll be until it’s my turn.
4. Do nothing and relax any tension in your body and face.
See just how calm you can be. (It’s especially interesting when you realize just how rushed and frazzled others around you are.) Get comfortable doing nothing — it’s good for ya. Often, instead of trying to do something to pass the time, I’ll just be still, maybe even close my eyes and totally relax.
5. Be productive.
If you can tackle something on your to-do list while waiting, it might be a good idea. Or, you may make a list, take care of some things that you’ve been putting off – aim to get something done. Take a deep breath then think of one thing you can get done with the time you have while waiting. Again, you can use that time wisely instead of feeling like it was wasted.
Use the time to think through what you’re going to do next, and how you want it to go. Visualize yourself moving with ease through obstacles, winning, taking care of it, and being proud of how you navigate the future.
Delays can be annoying and frustrating but they can also be no big deal. You don’t have to let them ruin your day or put you in a bad mood. While you’re waiting, you might as well make it worth it. If you can do something productive in the meantime, you’ll feel better about the time you spent. Each of the above practices are better than complaining or getting angry. They’ll help you from getting even more tense, anxious, rushed or stressed.