Researchers from Singapore have found a correlation between impatience and short telomeres, which are a segment of the human chromosome that get shorter as people get older. Telomeres are "caps" at the ends of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes as our cells divide; they are essentially the little plastic tips at the end of our DNA shoelaces.
Researches measured impatience in undergrads by presenting them with a series of choices: a small amount of money now or a larger amount of money later. Starting with $100 now or $101 in a month, the researchers ramped up the amount differences (maxing out at $100 now or $128 in a month) until someone chose the larger reward; that became the measure of how "patient" they were.
Then, the researchers compared telomere lengths with the patience results-- and they found a correlation between short telomeres and impatience. Telomere length is related to the aging process, and can predict disease onset and mortality, so this correlation seems oddly fitting.
It is important to remember that these results tell us nothing about causation. Are impatient people shortening their lives (and telomeres) by fretting? Or are people with naturally shorter lives more impatient, grasping at every minute they can in the face of onrushing doom?
Finally, the more boring third option: maybe the two are correlated but not causally linked. The researchers will be pursuing further studies to see whether enhancing peoples' patience through mindfulness training can preserve their telomere length.
In the meantime, keep in mind that whether or not mindfulness and patience affect telomere length directly, they definitely can impact life satisfaction. So take the advice of Guns 'n Roses: of you start to feel so tense, remember you can't speed up the time. All you need is just a little Patience.
Impatient people may be more likely to have shorter telomeres, parts of human chromosomes that that tend to get shorter as people age, according to a new study. Previous research has shown that people with shorter telomeres may be more likely to develop common diseases associated with aging — such as cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases — compared with people who have longer telomeres, the researchers said.