There is a saying, “Patience is a virtue,” which refers to the ability or willingness to wait for something without reacting negatively. That quality is admirable and extremely valuable to have.
The challenge we face is that in today’s “instant gratification” society, our patience is being tested all the time. From the time we get up, we can find ourselves running late, being caught in rush hour traffic, or experience delays in our work due to no fault of ours, all of which tests our patience.
The signs of impatience are unmistakeable. They include:
- Irritation or anger.
- Feeling rushed or under pressure.
- Shallow breathing which may include short breaths.
- Restlessness or being fidgety.
- Hands clenching or tightening due to muscle tension.
- Nervousness or feeling anxious.
The more we’re able to develop our ability to be patient, the more relaxed we’ll be, which in turn, will help us deal with events a lot better.
The good news is that patience is a skill and just like any other skill, it can be developed or improved. Becoming more patience will help us be calm and not get caught up with things that really don’t matter anyway.
One of the things I am working on getting better at is my relationship with time. One of my triggers is when I feel others are not respectful of my time, and that usually triggers certain emotions such as frustration, anger and abruptness.
What I am working on is being able to respond better to events instead of automatically giving events that don’t go my way a negative meaning. Sometimes all it takes is for me to just pause for a few moments and look at things from a different perspective.
Developing more patience allows us to display better self-control, avoid reacting to situations and allow things to unfold instead of forcing them to happen. Here are seven practical things we can do to start developing more patience straight away.
- Become aware of the things that trigger you. Knowing what our triggers are will allow us to be better prepared to deal with situations that test our patience. For example, if we always feel like we are rushed, then we need to ask ourselves why are we in such a rush or hurry. Those answers will reveal what is truly behind why we feel rushed or hurried, and we’ll be in a better position to respond.
- Practice deeper breathing. Sometimes we just need to slow our breathing down to give ourselves time to think about what is really going on. One way to do that is to count slowly to 10 in our mind whenever we feel our patience is being tested.
- Just stop and get grounded. Instead of getting all worked up with our minds racing at a million miles an hour, it is better to just stop and giving up trying to fight the situation. It may be easier to stop fighting a situation and start focusing on the solution.
- Learn to master your emotions. Our emotions determine what we experience each day and what the quality of those experiences will be. The better we become at controlling our emotions, the easier it will be to not get caught up with things that aren’t important anyway.
- Learn to look at things from different perspectives. Most times, our patience is tested by others and when we expected something to have gone a certain way. And when it doesn’t, that’s when we’re likely to experience different emotions. Sometimes it may be easier to just put ourselves in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Doing that can make us feel a lot better straight away.
- Practice releasing and relaxation techniques. Oftentimes the pressures and stresses of life accumulates and reaches a boiling point, which in turn, can test our patience. We can avoid being in such situations by releasing any build-up of negative emotions. This is why practices such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi or Qigong have all proven to bring significant mental, emotional and physical benefits.
- Focus more on the important things in life. Instead of getting caught up with things that don’t really matter long term, we should always come back to what is really important, moment to moment. Asking ourselves, “Will this really matter months or years from now?” is a powerful way to remember what is truly important to us.
People who are patient tend to be calmer and have a certain attractive quality about them. We don’t like being around people who are reactive, hasty or plain outright rude because things don’t go their way. Just like developing any other skill, developing patience will require commitment and the discipline to respond to situations differently. If we’re able to do that, we will feel a lot better about ourselves and others will enjoy being around us too.
Question: What could be another thing we could do to develop more patience?
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