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"dr sarah schnittger" Discussed on 10% Happier with Dan Harris
"Wait Times on calls with the unemployment office to just wanting this whole nightmare to evaporate so we can go back the movies today. We've got a special two part episode. In the first part we bring a pair of researchers who study patients the good news. Here's they've found. That patients is a quality that we can train and develop through meditation and a whole bunch of other strategies including cognitive reappraisal transcendence or just learning how to fake it until you make it side note in our conversation with these researchers we also fall into interesting chat about the benefits of defensive pessimism strategic optimism after the researchers that we bring on legendary Meditation Teacher. Sharon Salzberg for deeper dive into how to use meditation specifically to increase our patients especially when it comes to interpersonal stuff. Which let's be honest includes other people and ourselves. So let's start with our experts. Dr Sarah Schnittger from the psychology and Neuroscience Department at Baylor University and Dr Cate Sweeney from the Psychology Department at the University of California at Riverside. Here we go all right. Thank you both for joining us to be here. Thanks thank you really appreciate it. Kate let me pick on you first. Can you just describe how you became interested in the subject of patients in your research has shown you? Yeah so I'm a social psychologist by training. Which basically means I study. You know how people live their daily lives. Adults normative adults and when I started graduate school I was studying. Essentially the benefits of pessimism so the ways in which racing for the worst. When you're waiting for some kind of news can be really beneficial for protect you from disappointment and so forth later on that research expanded out and so now I kind of study waiting and uncertainty more generally and of course the best version of that is patients. So that's kind of an I got connected who will meet shortly and so when I think about uncertainty and waiting I'm really thinking about the situational press so the fact that that's a really stressful experience for most people and I think a little bit less about the ways in which certain people might more patiently handle that than others. Then what we've confirmed is that yeah. It's really hard. Periods of uncertainty are really challenging very stressful very difficult to cope with and we have certainly identified ways that people can cope better. Which I'm sure we'll talk about at some point down the line here but essentially started small got bigger and now we've just been trying to hunt down good ways of coping with these experiences so you've looked at just according to your bio here. You've looked at law graduates awaiting news about the bar exam and then patients awaiting biopsy results. So yeah a lot of uncertainty and fear in both of those situations. Yeah absolutely. We've also looked at lots of other context voters waiting for election results. We've looked at the last few major elections in the US and lots of other kinds of professional and academic and health waiting periods. But certainly those are two of the ones that are the biggest and you know people ask me a lot like does it matter if you're waiting for life or death news versus finding out whether you pass the bar exam and I have to tell you the people waiting for bar exam news. Look just as freaked out as people waiting by results so I think life and death is often in the eye of the beholder with these situations and by what measure did they look justice. Forget what are the metric. Somebody is yes the mostly we just ask people. It would be ideal in mind reading where we could really tell like in reality. How worried are they? But for the most part we just kind of trust people that they know when they're worried they know in their stress and so he actually measuring lots of different ways to try to make sure that. We're not getting kind of idiosyncratic answers on a particular measure but it includes things like worry like repetitive thoughts are obsessing about the uncertainty general emotional state symptoms of ill health for sleep so lots of different markers of poor wellbeing moments. Okay Sarah let me pick anew now for second so can you? Just tell me a little bit about your background. How you came to this issue and described the research you've done. Yes definitely so like Kate. I am also trained in social psychology but also focus on understanding personality a bit more and trying to figure out how we each as individuals are different from others and what goes into making a person and so when I began Grad School. I was really interested in studying the development of character strengths both in adults but also in adolescence and as I began looking at the scientific literature. It really struck me that no one was studying patients at all. No one I found four sources and one of them was Charles Darwin hockey about the emotional the bodily expression of the emotion of patients right so it struck me as very odd and that's not a very common thing as a researcher to find an area that is so under studied and so I said what's going on here first of all. Why is it? We don't CARE ABOUT PATIENTS. And then why should we should? We not and started to explore that question and pretty quickly. I came to the conclusion that this is actually a pretty important thing being patient but that at least in the United States cultural context I think in a lot of the Western world. We've come to ignore patients really since the industrial revolution. That we think if you have to wait or you have to suffer or deal with uncertainty that to technological failure and instead of saying that that's a natural part of life and that's part of being a human being and that we can cultivate the strength of patients in order to deal with sufferings uncertainty in waiting better instead our approach in the twenty first century is. Let's fix it with our technology so very quickly. Ooh This could be a problem because a lot of the things that are most important in life. You don't have control over and you have to wait and we all now are in this situation of Cova. Nineteen where we all are dealing with uncertainty. We can't immediately fix it and so a lot of my work has been starting to explore how we can help. People cultivate the virtue of patience understanding. Just what is it as a character strength and also in the beginning to trend to show that it is a good thing that this is something you want in your life. You know. I think the question I often get from people is full. Won't you just become a doormat? Or You really passive and just let life pass you by if you become patient and so our research suggests that is not the case and instead people who are disposition patient actually exert more effort in the pursuit of their goals at allows them basically to regulate their emotions so that they can make choices and know when to act when not to act and not just be driven by fear or anxiety or anger and instead be making wise decisions. We should you said before in one of the paragraphs you just uttered so eloquently that he one of the things you were looking at is what is patients so. I'm just curious. How do you define patients? Yeah so we defined it as the ability to be calm in the face of frustration obstacles suffering so doesn't necessarily involve waiting for something. I think that's a common component but there may also be forms of suffering that you have to patiently endure. That are never going to go away. So someone who has a chronic illness? They know that that's never gonna be fixed but they are patient with that suffering. We also see. There's different types of patients you have that long term life. Hardship patients like a chronic illness. If you think about what causes suffering in your life you might also realize Oh. It's the people I'm around. Those of us who are stuck in captivity with people that can be you can require patients. I have a three year old. This is a time for being patient with her and with myself. And so we see the interpersonal. Patience is somewhat distinct but really important for well being and then you have more your daily hassles patient. So this is I think what people typically think of it first getting stuck in traffic jams waiting in lines waiting on the phone for many people right now waiting on the phone for the unemployment office. This is the daily hassles components. Which also if you're impatient with those that can be a source of ill health and stress but we find all three are really critical and in many ways that long term life hardship patients and the interpersonal patients. That are most predictive of wellbeing. Outcomes this memories coming in mind I had a babysitter growing up when Nita she was not actually let necks her mother who she described as a heavy drinker used to like to read. She was Irish but she used to like to read romance novels and with the lead character. And what are the novels was named Juanita so anyway would need a babysitter. And I my brother and I were object. Ganic pains in the butt and I remember her driving her yellow vw Bug through Newton Massachusetts with my brother and I just tormenting her and she would grit her teeth and say patience is a virtue so it's interesting that if I heard you correctly that there are these three types of patients you know. How am I online at the pharmacy? However my inter personally and how how am I with long-term discomfort or misfortune of some sort and that it sounds to me like they're connected deeply. How you are in one area is going to say a lot about how you are in another And that's what our fancy statistics show us. They have some distinctive to them. But they really do have this. I think solid core to them that the person is cultivated habits whereby they can regulate their emotions effectively and the other thing that I think is the common core to all of them is that a person has a purpose behind there waiting. That's actually something. We've shown his really essential so if you have no reason to wait or suffer why why are you doing right so you just give up or you get angry and so in our work showing that there needs to be some kind of higher order beyond the self purpose for some people. That's really building a community that they care about contributing to society for some people that can be more spiritual connecting with something transcendent whether that's God or Karma higher power whatever that may be having something that really energize you and says it's worse suffering for this is necessary but I can see how that would apply at in interpersonal relationships. And if you're dealing with a chronic illness but how does transcendent meaning? Playa the drugstore. I think this is the opportunity to practice for those other. Two I think is what happens. I know that's what I try to do. Is in those situations kind of reframe like okay. This is a good opportunity for me to practice..