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AlisonBrill Posted by Alison T. Brill, MPH, Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

BusinessmanLookWatch2We spend much of our time waiting – waiting for the train, sitting in traffic, waiting to be called at the doctor’s office, waiting for a phone call. Waiting can seem stressful and causes anxiety for some of us, especially if we’re running late. What if this time wasn’t thought of as waiting, but as opportunities for balancing, focusing, and energizing your mind and body? Imagine how that shift in perspective might change your feelings about this common and often undesirable situation. Plus, as my mom always says, “A watched pot never boils!”

Below are some ideas for how to make the most of your wait time:

  • Deep breathing. Just a few minutes a day of slow, belly breathing has tremendous positive effects on your entire body. Read more about deep breathing here.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means being present in the moment and awake to your experiences. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment; focus your attention on the food you’re eating; notice your surroundings, including the people, sights, sounds, and smells around you.
  • Express your gratitude. Write in a journal or Gratitude Phone App, or call or send a text message of appreciation to someone. 
  • Read a book. You know how you say you never have time to read? Well, now’s your chance! 
  • Strike up a conversation with someone else who’s waiting. You never know who you’ll meet or what kind of connection you’ll make.
  • Interact/make funny faces with kids in line. You’ll make each other smile and their caretaker will thank you for keeping them occupied.


Waiting is an unavoidable part of life, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Just think of all you could be doing while you’re waiting, and next time you go out, you might just be hoping for a line!






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