For a very long time, waiting was torture for me. I always had the feeling that I was wasting my time. It even went so far that I always drove so close to the airport or to meetings because I wanted to avoid not having used time efficiently. At some point, this stressed me out to no end. And because I had resolved at that time to decelerate my life and work on my presence – we are only present in the here and now, when we think about what has just happened or what lies in the future, we are always in a stressed state and never really present in the here and now.
So for me, waiting has an incredible amount to do with coming into awareness. Because waiting doesn’t have to be passive. Rather, it’s about taking an inner stance, connecting with yourself and staying with yourself.
Active waiting has a lot to do with being patient about and understanding waiting as an opportunity to reflect, learn something new about yourself, and grow.
Today, I love to use my time of waiting to come into awareness, that is, to check in with myself and ask myself what is going on with me right now and why I am actually so impatient. The other side of impatience is anticipation. Whether that’s at the airport, in a traffic jam, in line at the supermarket checkout, or waiting for a major event. As soon as we take an active stance, joy and aliveness come into play.
Of course, even today with me, there are moments when I too fall back into impatience and want everything to happen right now. So it was a great reminder for me, too, that Kristina invited me to talk to her about Active Waiting on the latest podcast episode of Mit Herz und Verstand.
WHAT IS ACTIVE WAITING?
Active waiting is a concept from social psychology that deals with the way people react to waiting for certain events or situations.
Unlike passive waiting, where one remains idle and merely focuses on the occurrence of the event, active waiting involves an active approach to the situation.
This means that while waiting, one focuses on the event by setting goals, actively doing something or focusing on other activities,
that help one use the time wisely and divert attention from waiting.
In this way, waiting can be less stressful and you can engage productively instead of focusing on the uncertainty of waiting.
HOW CAN I WAIT ACTIVELY?
Here are some tips on how to actively wait:
Set goals: Define clear goals you want to achieve while waiting. For example, you might decide to learn a new skill or read a certain number of books.
Find distractions: Try to occupy yourself with other things that require your attention. Get physically active or focus on a hobby or project.
Solve problems: Use the time spent waiting to find solutions to problems that are on your mind. It could be a professional or personal challenge you want to tackle.
Interact with others: Spend time with friends and family or connect with new people. This can help you relax and focus on something else.
Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness and meditation to calm yourself and clear your thoughts. This can help you focus on the here and now and make you less worried about the future.
Planning: use the waiting time to plan future events or prepare projects. For example, you could write a travel journal or prepare for an upcoming project.
Through these techniques, people can use active waiting to stay productive and use their time wisely instead of just focusing on waiting.
WHY DOES ACTIVE WAITING MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL AND HAPPY?
People who actively wait and strengthen their self-efficacy have a positive attitude toward challenges in life. They do not see themselves as victims of circumstances, but as individuals capable of taking action and successfully dealing with difficulties.
Self-efficacy helps us to consciously manage our behavior and increase our self-confidence in our abilities and competencies. By perceiving ourselves as capable and competent, we are more likely to face challenges and actively confront them.
Self-efficacy can also help us cope better with stress, as we increase our confidence in our own abilities and competencies by successfully overcoming stressful situations. We believe that we are capable of overcoming situations that have previously stressed us.
People with high self-efficacy are convinced that they have control over their actions and their environment. They feel motivated to take on challenges and achieve their goals. By taking active action and experiencing their actions as effective, they can bring about positive change in their lives.
It is therefore not surprising that self-efficacy is an important factor in a person’s mental health and well-being. By focusing on our abilities and perceiving ourselves as individuals capable of taking action, we can actively shape our lives and face challenges that allow us to grow.