It has never been easy to be patient, but it's probably harder now than at any time in history. In a world where messages and information can be sent across the world instantly, everything is available with only a few clicks of the mouse. Fortunately, patience is a virtue that can be cultivated and nurtured over time. You will be pleasantly surprised by how relaxation and peace of mind can impact the quality of your life.
Why Are You Impatient?
- Try to figure out why you are in such a hurry. For example: waiting for an important meeting to start! We tend to lose our patience when we're multitasking or when we're on a tight schedule, expecting the day to pass within only a few short minutes of busyness and chaos.
- If you're stretching yourself too thin, you should reconsider your to-do list before you attempt to change your natural reaction to an overwhelming situation.
- Try to spread out your tasks so that you're doing only one thing at a time, without leaving yourself twiddling your thumbs in eagerness of something to busy yourself with.
- Delegate responsibilities to others if you can; this in itself may be a test of your patience, but you have to learn to share the load.
- Pinpoint the triggers that often influence you to lose your patience. For example: when you are not doing anything! Impatience creeps in insidiously, and if you feel anxious, worried, or unhappy, you may not even realize that the underlying cause of these feelings is impatience. To reduce the frequency of impatience, it helps to be aware of it.
- Which events, people, phrases, or circumstances always seem to influence you lose your cool? Sit down and make a list of all the things which cause you anxiety, tension, or frustration. At the core of most triggers is a reality that we have a hard time Accept Everything the Way It Is. What are those realities for you?
- Look for patterns. Being aware of your impatience also gives you a chance to learn from it and perhaps uncover a relationship or circumstance that is simply not healthy or constructive, and that you may have the power to change. Figure that out, and you can then think logically about the problem issue and decide whether or not your impatience is warranted or helpful. It usually isn't, but when it is you can then figure out ways to fix the root problem rather than simply feeling stressed about it.
Writing it Down
- Keep a journal. For one to two weeks, whenever you get that rushed feeling and the sense of impatience, write down whatever it is that feeling is associated with (Example: July 1 - astronomy class). Make sure that you take notes consistently and consecutively each time the feeling occurs.
- You will notice that you are more aware of (and subsequently more prepared for) the feeling of impatience. You will also be able to observe the sense of impatience objectively and which events give rise to it.
- You may come to the conclusion that circumstances surrounding the feeling are not causing you angst — the feeling itself is. In these ways, you will be able to better control impatience when it besets you.
- Overcome bouts of impatience. In the long run, developing patience requires a change in your attitude about life, but you can immediately make progress by learning to relax whenever you feel impatient. Take a few deep breaths and just try to clear your mind. Concentrate on breathing and you'll be able to get your bearings.
- Let go if you can't do anything about the impatience trigger. If there isn't anything that you can do to resolve whatever has triggered your impatience, just let it go. Easier said than done, yes, but it's possible, and it's the only healthy thing to do.
- Initially, you will probably find it difficult to let go if the matter is important to you — waiting to hear back after a job interview, for instance — but you should be able to alleviate impatience that's caused by issues of less consequence (i.e. waiting in line at the grocery store).
- If you make a concerted effort to be more patient in relatively inconsequential, short-term situations, you'll gradually develop the strength to remain patient in even the most trying and enduring situations.
Seeing the Big Picture
- Remind yourself that things take time. People who are impatient are people who insist on getting things done now and don't like to waste time. However, some things just can't be rushed.
- Think about your happiest memories. Chances are, they were instances when your patience paid off, like when you worked steadily toward a goal that wasn't immediately gratifying, or took a little extra time to spend leisurely with a loved one. Would you have those memories if you had been impatient? Probably not.
- Almost anything really good in life takes time and dedication, and if you're impatient, you're more likely to give up on relationships, goals, and other things that are important to you. Good things may not always come to those who wait, but most good things that do come don't happen right away.
- Remember what matters. Not focusing on what matters most in this life fuels impatience. Move the world toward peace by being kind, generous in forgiveness of others, being grateful for what is, and taking full advantage of what matters most. When other less important things fuel our impatience, taking time to remember any one of these items reduces our tendency to want something different right now.
- Always remember that you will eventually get what you want. (This requires maturity and patience to understand and accept!) If you work hard at something, this may be the truth, but most of the time you have to be patient to get what you want.
- For others, this may come as easy, but the only thing that matters is that you know how to occupy yourself, even in the dead of times.
- Just remember, patience is a mental skill that you will never forget, so cherish patience as a major step for you in life. Impatience is something not to be proud of, but something that you should attempt to train yourself out of, before it is something that overthrows your life.
- Always have a positive outlook in life. Having a positive mental environment is very important in your ability to exercise a sense of patience. Remember that life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.
- Expect the unexpected. Yes, you have plans, but things don't always work out as planned. Accept the twist and turns in life gracefully. Keep your expectations realistic. This applies not only to circumstances, but also the behavior of those around you.
- If you find yourself blowing up at your child or your spouse from accidentally spilling a drink, you're not in touch with the fact that people aren't perfect. Even if the occasion is not an isolated incident but is instead caused by their repeated neglect and carelessness, losing your patience isn't going to make it any better. That's something to be addressed with self-control and discussion if possible.
- Give yourself a break. The meaning of this is twofold.
- First, take a few minutes to do absolutely nothing. Just sit quietly and think. Don't watch television; don't even read. Do nothing. It may be hard at first, and you may even feel impatient after a minute or two, but by taking some time out you can essentially slow your world down, and that's important to develop the attitude necessary to develop patience.
- Second, stop holding yourself and the world around you to unattainable standards. Sure, we'd all be more patient if babies didn't cry, dishes didn't break, computers didn't crash, and people didn't make mistakes - but that's never going to happen. Expecting the world to run smoothly is like beating your head against the wall. Give yourself a break! and for children go outside and play it helps you to not stress on it!
- Boredom can make it difficult to be patient. If you're waiting in the doctor's office and the only thing you can concentrate on is the ticking clock, good luck trying to be patient. If, however, you can read a book or do a crossword puzzle, time will fly by (or at least creep less slowly). If you have nothing to do while you're waiting, just try to appreciate the fact that you have nothing to do. In a fast-paced world, opportunities to do nothing are rare and should be cherished because they give you a chance to forget about trivial things.
- Instead of becoming annoyed by a distraction (such as a crying baby on a long flight), try just being a passive observer. If you make it daily practice to observe things and events without judging or forming an opinion, being able to acknowledge something without allowing it to annoy you will become easier with time.
- Being patient with others is a form of respect for them. Nobody is perfect, and if you want to be a good parent, boss, spouse, or friend, it's important to recognize this and to be patient with people. "Don't sweat the small stuff" is a good motto. You and everyone around you will be more relaxed and able to get along much better.
- Developing patience is not easy, and you've got to be motivated to become more patient. You can do it, however, and you should. Patience can reduce your stress levels and improve your health and longevity, and patience can actually make you happier. Whenever you find yourself growing impatient, think about the positive effects of patience, and remember that impatience only makes things worse.
- Remember, for every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness.
- Be present and focused on the task at hand. You may think you have many things to do today, but you have only one thing to do, what is in front of you. A sense of completion after finishing that task will reduce anxiety and promote a sense of accomplishment.
- Once you are able to change your attitude so that you are a patient person, you will find that patience can help you endure any tribulation, no matter how long-lasting or difficult. More importantly, perhaps, patience can help you achieve your goals.
- One way to release stress is to write about it. Studies have shown that people who write about their emotions tend to become more calm and learn to accept the emotions that they are experiencing. so, the next time you feel angry, just write about it and try to meditate over why you would be so angry.
- A quote from James Clavell's novel, Shogun: “Karma is the beginning of knowledge. Next is patience. Patience is very important. The strong are the patient ones. Patience means holding back your inclination to the seven emotions: Hate, adoration, joy, anxiety, anger, grief, fear. If you don’t give way to the seven, you’re patient, then you’ll soon understand all manner of things and be in harmony with eternity.”
- Many people find that meditation and yoga helps develop patience.
- Remember that in short the key to patience is to divert your mind from what you are impatient about and busy your mind with something else.
- Be patient with others who display little patience. If you seemed to feel bothered too much by them, make an excuse to locate yourself somewhere else and take a break from their anxiety-inducing behavior.
- Patience should be no excuse for procrastination. While patience can help you be okay with doing nothing, it's important to understand that idleness breeds impatience and stress.
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