Coping During the Waiting Game

Waiting on test results can be agony. The powerlessness of the situation kicks up the worst in our stress responses. Some people just sit with the worry, whereas some in the community have found more positive outlets for channeling their nervous energy and staying distracted during this challenging time.

On the Facebook page, we asked: “What do you do to distract yourself when waiting for results?” More than 200 of you connected with the question and nearly 30 of you responded. Here’s what you had to say.

Going on new adventures

“I explore new adventures by going to new places…”

Adventures, especially those outside, lift the spirits instantly. By changing our venue, we shift our energy. We can go from being bogged down in worry to being temporarily delighted by the beauty of the sky’s reflection on a lake, or the morning dew on tree leaves. And, for some of you, even planning a new adventure works just as well as going on one.

“I explore new adventures by going to new places and rediscovering old ones, like walks on trails I haven’t seen since I was little. Or I stroll the beach, even when it’s cold. And of course, taking lots of photos to share and to remember those beautiful days. Nature is the perfect distraction!”

“I like to plan vacations for my family. I wait to book anything, but I love making an agenda with hotels, attractions and even sometimes restaurants.”

Providing service to others

“Help someone who is less fortunate …”

Service always takes us out of ourselves. Not only do we forget our troubles while we are helping someone else, we might gain a bit of gratitude for the fact that we are able-bodied enough to help. Or, at the very least, volunteering connects us with humanity and love inside everyone. Being a part of a loving act not only provides comfort to the receiver, it also tends to comfort and heal the giver as well.

“Help someone who is less fortunate. Help in a soup kitchen or help a senior neighbor. The secret is keep busy! Worry won’t change the results.”

Playing games

“I play games on my Kindle.”

Games in any form engage the mind, keeping us from dwelling on our worries. Plus, they’re fun, and we get a little pop of endorphins from winning or succeeding, be it a simple game, like Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja, or something entirely challenging, like the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. Whatever it is, if it’s working, keep at it!

“Crossword puzzles.”

“I play games on my Kindle.”

Practing spirituality


Faith can be the greatest gift during stressful times. Prayer especially reminds us that there is a force greater than ourselves, and that force is loving and wants the best for us. For those who don’t have a regular prayer habit, feel free to ask your friends to pray for you, or visit a place of worship and fill out a prayer request form. Most ministers, pastors, rabbis and the like are more than willing to pray for whomever is in need. And prayer isn’t a limited resource, so feel free to take as much advantage of this one as you can.

“Pray, stay busy and go shopping.”

“Pray and trust that whatever the results are, that God will give me the grace to see it through.”

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who shared their coping strategies. It’s our hope that those who read this find one more coping tool to rely on should they ever be in a place of worry and concern again.

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