“Patience (or forbearance) is the ability to endure difficult circumstances such as waiting/perseverance in the face of delay; tolerating without responding in annoyance/anger; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with long-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can have before negativity.” – Wikipedia
Patience is our tool for dealing with adversity. Thus, its link to happiness is widely known and accepted. Moreover, patience is needed to achieve our big dreams we spoke of yesterday. Change takes time. You won’t achieve any new endeavor overnight, you’re going to have to be patient or you’ll give up.
Here are some ways to cultivate patience:
- Practice gratitude. As I wrote about in Gratitude: A Corner Puzzle Piece, I’ve been using gratitude to be a more patient driver.
- Be mindful of what is making you agitated. Journaling about the times you lose it is a good way to become more aware of your triggers.
- Make yourself wait. Like any habit, you have to practice it. Go to the longest line in the grocery store. If that suggestion just made your heart rate soar, then you need to make yourself practice waiting.
- Embrace the uncomfortable. Don’t buy the lie that a good life equals feeling happy all the time. A full life is forged outside of your comfort zone.
- Deep breathing. The old count to 10 and take deep breaths still works!
- Allow yourself extra time. I don’t know about you, but it’s far easier to be patient with those around me if I’m not in a rush.
- Reframe the situation. Try my son’s trick of making up a sympathetic hypothetical for why some irritating situation is the way it is. E.g. Your coworker isn’t replying to your email because they had to attend to a family emergency. You can take a deep breath and work on something else while you wait.
- Have a distraction for when you anticipate a wait. If you know your doctor is always late, just bring that book you need to finish, so you don’t feel like you are wasting time.
- Ask for help. When it’s deadline week for me, my whole family can feel it. If you’re overwhelmed and losing patience, seek out some help to lighten the load.
- Don’t waste energy on things you cannot change. Re-read Lessons on Reducing Anxiety for more on distinguishing between what you can and cannot control.
How do you practice patience? Drop a comment below.