Patience: What’s Happening in Our Brains?

If you are newer to this Onward work, here is a little background. Each month focuses on a habit and disposition of a resilient person and in addition we take a dive into an emotion. This month we take a dive into patience.

Serotonin is neurotransmitter that is believed to regulate mood, intestinal activity and appetite, memory, and sleep. When we consider all this work we are doing around cultivating resilience, we definitely want to find ways to boost our serotonin levels.

So what does this have to do with patience? Recent research shows the potential of serotonin levels to increase the “patience effect.” In The Neuroscience of Patience, Christopher Bergland shares this new research that “Serotonin increases ‘the patience effect’ if a timely reward is 75% guaranteed.”

Bergland also explains how marketing execs use this understanding of neuroscience and patience all the time as evident in this 1970’s Heinz Ketchup commercial. And at its most basic level, the research has found that increased levels of serotonin led to increased levels if patience.

So as we find ways to cultivate our resilience, consider ways to boost your serotonin levels and increase your patience. Remember the important role that our food and exercise choices make in our resilience.