We’ve all heard that patience is a virtue (I’ve just started and I can already feel my impatient friends wanting me to get right to the point :)).
Patience is the ability to tolerate delay without frustration. Those with patience are more likely to remain calm and prevent impulsive action when challenges arise…and challenges always do.
Being impatient on the other hand, has little to offer. The line at the store doesn’t move any faster because we’re in a rush, and traffic doesn’t move after faster because we’re anxious to get home. So, if you’re impatient, it may serve to work on your patience because of how it impacts important areas of life. Where does impatience take its toll? In your health, happiness and relationships.
(If you’re like me, you’re already scanning to get to the numbers and bullet points-I got you).
Consider these benefits to having patience:
- It’s easier to be happy when you’re patient. Having patience reduces stress and anxiety. Less stress and anxiety means more opportunity for happiness. Try to imagine situations in the past:
- Has being impatient ever benefitted you?
- How do you feel when you’re impatient? Are you stressed? Uncomfortable?
- Patient people are healthier. The stress that impatient people feel is hard on the mind and body. Those that feel less stress suffer from fewer stress related issues. Heart and immune issues, sleep disturbances, weight challenges and other health conditions are worsened with additional stress and impatience causes us to be more stressed.
- Greater likelihood to stay the course with your goals. Big goals require time. Time requires patience. Big goals are impossible without some measure of patience which gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we’re progressing and course correct where necessary. Consider how impatience may have short-circuited a result in the past.
- Some things are outside of our control and patience smooths the journey. Recovering from a health issue like a muscle tear, bone break or infection? It takes time. Trying to get excess weight off? That takes time too. Personal tragedy or loss? It takes time to move through the grieving process. Pregnancy? Each trimester involves different stages of developmental growth that all take time.
- You’ll make better decisions. I’m not talking about a decision where you feel it in your gut and you just “know” it’s right. I’m talking about wanting to get the decision over with and in doing so, important details can easily be overlooked. Impatience can lead to impulsive decisions that can lead to regret later on. Patience gives us the time and space to contemplate the situation and make a decision based on more and complete information.
- Make a list of the times when impatience has cost you. Consider your personal relationships, work, and finances. Here are a few examples:
*Sending that angry email you wish you never sent.
*The action you took to get back at the person who hurt you.
*The words you spoke that never would have left your lips if you gave yourself time to think it over.
*Or possibly that superhero character tattoo that felt like the perfect idea in the moment 🙂 .
Like anything else you’d like to change, it’s possible to develop patience. Here are a few ideas:
- Set shorter goals. Instead of keeping only the big goal in site, break it down into smaller chunks so you have a greater sense of completion and accomplishment for each step achieved along the way.
- Pause before everything you say and do. Do you want to get off the couch and raid the refrigerator? Wait 10 minutes and see if that changes. Are you ready to interrupt a conversation to get your point across? Wait until there’s a pause before speaking. Slow down and practice patience when the opportunities arise.
- Identify when you’re least patient. When do you find yourself lacking patience the most? Focus your attention on these trouble spots. Is it when you’re tired, overcommitted, or when you’re sitting in traffic? Start practicing patience in the area where you see it showing up the most.
- Notice your thoughts when you’re impatient. What do you think about when you’re feeling impatient? Notice your thoughts and work towards changing them. You can choose to think about anything you’d like, so think about something that encourages you to be patient instead.
- Practice greater self-care. Whether you journal, meditate, pray, walk in nature, practice mindfulness, try breathwork or any other technique that resonates, taking the time to pause gets us out of our “monkey mind” and settles down the nervous system.
Patience is an important character trait that’s helpful to cultivate. Many confuse patience with weakness or passivity, but it can actually be a healthier response to something outside of our control. So, if you’re like me and you increase the speed of every video you watch, every book you listen to (and wish you could do that with certain people too), take a breath, slow down, and enjoy the journey.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute