Are you one of those people who practically sprints down moving walkways in airports and climbs escalators two steps at a time? If getting stuck behind a slow walker is your idea of a nightmare, you're probably suffering from sidewalk rage. It's a real thing, according to the science publication Nautilus.
But chances are, your frustration isn't limited to just slowpokes on the sidewalk. Slow Internet, slow printers, slow employees--thanks to an increasingly faster-paced world, your internal clock might feel like it's always set two steps ahead of everyone else around you.
The problem is, our patience threshold is a bit out of whack. As part of the evolutionary process, patience and impatience used to serve the important function of dictating how long it was okay to chase after something--say, that deer that looks like a fine supper--and when it was time to let go so you didn't die trying, writes Nautilus's Chelsea Wald. Now that there are so many ways to get instant gratification, it's easy to get angry when results and rewards don't arrive immediately.
You could try to force everyone to sprint with you, but that might just fan the flames of your slowness rage when you inevitably learn they can't keep up with your expectations. You're much better off taking better charge of your own emotions. Here's how:
When your experience of time becomes more and more subjective--a couple of minutes can feel like a few seconds or a few hours--it's hard to stay grounded in the present. Research has show that meditation can help you do just that. Meditation offers "a technique for just meeting the present moment as it is, without trying to change the situation," Ethan Nichtern, a New York City-based senior meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, tells Nautilus. Your pace may remain equally fast, but you can train your reactions to the unhurried masses to become more mellow.
Too impatient to meditate? You're not the only one. Northeastern University psychologist David DeSteno suggests a shortcut to cultivating more patience: make gratitude a daily habit. In one study, he discovered that people who spent a few minutes writing about something for which they were grateful were more willing to skip a smaller reward for a bigger one later on. Regularly acknowledging the good things in your life can be a very effective way of reminding yourself of your place in the world and the importance of "not being a jerk," DeSteno tells Nautilus.
Now you tell us: How do you stave off slowness rage?