The Neuroscience Behind Patience
Patience. What is Patience?
“The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
This, is the definition of patience according to a simple google search. I’d define it a tad more elegant as:
“Enduring pain, delay, etc. without complaint”
Patience And Mental Health
Given that we know relatively little about how the mind works, and how no one is ever told how to healthily manage things like stress and depressive episodes, we throw our claimed patience out and opt for nice quick fixes to our hormonal levels to feel happy again.
This can be interpreted as going out on a weekend to get hammered and reduce stress, doing some drugs, or binging out on things Netflix/YouTube.
These are all examples of quick fixes to a deeper running aspect of your self. Those things that immediately give you a good rush of dopamine to make you feel better, ultimately do nothing to prevent the negative feelings or emotions that you are putting off addressing by looking for simple solutions. Hell, if there was a pill that could bring me to permanently healthy levels of mental health, you bet your ass I would take it.
However, we all live in the real world though, so this isn’t a thing that exists (for now at least).
Your brain is very, very complex as you might have guessed already. The best part of it being complex though, is that it controls everything!
Every emotion you feel, every pain (physical or emotional), every little ounce of joy.
Your brain and the chemistry behind it is the source of it all, it makes what you are. That’s why we engage in these quick fix activities, it fires up those good feelings in your head, and helps you not care about how much things suck and how bad everything is when all of these positive stimuli aren’t running through your mind.
What happens when you wake up on Monday? You return to what your normal state is for most of your waking life, and sadly, for most people, this state sucks for them.
So why are we so obsessed with the 10% of our lives that is totally cool, that little tiny insignifigant piece of what determines how our mind ultimately feels?
Why the are we ignoring the rest of our lives?
Why the don’t we feel good all the time?
Because waiting sucks and quick fixes are easy.
Why would I do all of the hard work to reflect on past experiences in my day to day life, when I know that super fun 10% is coming up this weekend?
Imagine a time where you have been hurt very badly, not physically, but mentally/emotionally. Such as after a bad breakup, when you lost someone you love, you got rejected by a job or girl you really wanted.
It hurts, and you know that it hurts, but it’s not something you can slap a Band-aid on and call a day. You can’t fix that feeling of despair about what your next step forward will be, by dropping $100 at the bar this weekend and having a great time for two days.
That would be like putting duct tape over a knife wound on your leg, sure it is gone for that moment, but you have done absolutely nothing to deal with that problem, and it will only get worse the more you ignore it, until you take the time and patience to treat it correctly, and let it heal.
Your mind is extremely malleable. Ignoring problems that are causing distress in your life, or finding that quick fix, is not enduring the pain. You are not giving those pains, delays, etc. the time they deserve.
Being heartbroken sucks, struggling with others or yourself, sucks. I’m aware since I’ve seen too many people just complain about these things, blame someone else, and just look for quick fixes so that they don’t have to endure the pain that comes with those stressors.
You won’t make any progress in healing those wounds, without patience. Being able to understand they’re there, that you have to confront them, and knowing that bitching about it isn’t going to improve you at all, is how you practice patience in regards to mental health.
So take a moment to think about one big thing that has been a cause of distress to you, whether it’s in a relationship, family, business, friendship, or personal life. Take the real time that problem deserves, to just think about it. Let your mind process what aspects of it are actually stressors, how you can handle them, and how you can move on with your life without needing to use quick fixes to handle the pain.
You wouldn’t give someone with a broken leg some aspirin and say good luck, you shouldn’t just give yourself a night out to deal with the fact that you have a pressing concern that is slowly eating away at you from the shadows.
Practice patience, endure the pain and fix it.
Ignoring your problems and avoiding addressing pressing concerns on your mental state is never going to fix anything, and you will begin to hate the rest of your life that isn’t the fun stuff on the weekends. Address your problems directly, especially the ambigious mentality-based ones, make your entire life worth living.
Thanks for reading and until next time.
P.S. If you liked this post then you’ll like my books as well. You can get them on Amazon.