We have all heard of the phrase, ‘Bite your tongue.’ Sometimes, biting our tongues instead of acting impulsively can keep us safe and those around us safe. A phrase similar to ‘bite your tongue’ was first recorded in Shakespeare’s 1593 Henry VI, I: “So Orke must sit, and fret, and bit his tongue.”
The very thought of being caught in a traffic jam, being stuck for hours is bound to cause you to scream out in frustration; many of us experience the same frustration or degrees of the same anger, for we all tend to get a bit impatient at times. This is not to imply that we all lack the ability to be patient. Patience really is one of the few virtues that can really benefit us.
I am sure that most of you have heard of cases of road rage where a seemingly innocuous accident or even waiting for the traffic to move, can push a person over the edge and make them lash out at the nearest person. A close analysis had revealed that most of those who had experienced road rage and acted out because of it, was in a state of high stress. On the other side of the coin, from waiting from a restaurant seat to queuing at a theme park, we’re all able to put our desire for immediate gratification to one side when we know there’s something good coming up. Here are a few points that we need to ponder about when discussing patience
- A recent study and an article published in Current biology lay the groundwork for the connection between patience and the serotonin that our brain produces. A new study detailed in Science Daily shows that mice can be patient too, and reveals a link between the brain’s chemical system and the mice’s belief about how waiting will pay off.
- The fact is that we all lead stressful lives with a packed schedule to boot and as a result, we are more or fewer slaves to our own busy schedule and have little or no time for anything else in between. As a result, our ability for being patient slowly but surely becomes eroded as we find little time to look forward to pleasurable pastimes. For example, waiting in an ATM line for more than five minutes when we’re not sure there is money in the bank is a good example of a situation that would get most of us feeling frustrated.
- Think about a time when your food has been late and you’re hungry; it’s is bound to get you annoyed, but the moment the food is delivered and as you bite down on your usual burger, you experience higher than usual levels of satisfaction. Have you ever wondered why that is? It is mainly because the act of patiently waiting for your food to be delivered and then to enjoy the first bite has resulted in delayed gratification, which is why it pays to be patient.
There are times when you may have to wait a bit for the traffic light to turn green but patiently waiting without lashing out, can help protect your life and the lives of others in the process. This only underscores the fact that no matter how patient we maybe there will always be external factors that cause stress and we must be disciplined not to react violently.