Anticipation is a great thing. It creates within us a feeling of excitement and happiness. In some ways, anticipation reminds us of earlier days when we were children waiting for Christmas and birthday parties. Yes, anticipation is good.

Sometimes, though, anticipation can be hard. Staying optimistic and hopeful while waiting for adoption gets tough as each day ticks by without progress. If you’re caught in the adoption waiting game—whether waiting for paperwork to be completed; waiting to be chosen by a birth mother; waiting for a country to release your child—then put into practice some of these suggestions and you’re sure to feel a greater sense of peace:

1 – Positive Reminders. Keep a daily list of things that go right. These can be anything from the mundane (I got the toilet scrubbed) to the extreme (our home study is completed). The list can be long or short—it doesn’t matter. What matters is that at the end of each day and the beginning of the next, you read over the list and remind yourself that there are things that are going right in your life.

2 – Meditate and Breathe. This could be during morning yoga, or simply while lying in bed before the day begins, or at the end of each day. Heck . . . you can do it in the middle of the day if you want! Whether your meditation includes prayer or relaxation techniques, make sure you create quiet time. Deep breathing is so effective in restoring peace to an anxious soul. Even if you’re sitting at your desk or waiting at a stoplight in the car, take some deep breaths and feel your body come to life as your mind relaxes. Aim to do this two or three times a day.

3 – Worthwhile Distraction. Perhaps the most worthwhile activity you can do to distract yourself from things you have no control over is to reach out and serve another fellow being. This could mean weekly volunteering for a non-profit or simply taking cookies to your neighbor. Just find a way, every day, to focus on someone other than yourself. As you do so, your waiting doesn’t seem so daunting. You turn your thoughts to someone in need and immediately your waiting pales.

4 – Be active. Depending on your level of fitness, you may wish to take up running. Or fencing. You might want to walk around the park every day or use that treadmill that’s become your favorite clothing rack. Find a physical activity that suits your fitness level and begin a routine today. If you’re already a daily exerciser, consider starting a new physical hobby. You may enjoy rappelling or SCUBA diving. It’s a great big world out there when it comes to activities—find one and use it to help you push through the wait.

Passing your adoption waiting days by drumming your fingers or wishing the days away is not only useless, but it also seems to make time slow down. Activate your senses and you’ll find a degree of peace that has been eluding you!