Wondering how to learn patience? Well, it’s not exactly easy, but it’s 100% doable. Modern times and our fast paced lives have caused our patience to dwindle. A recent survey of 2,000 adults found that many people get impatient after waiting in line at a store for just 30 seconds, or after waiting 25 seconds for a traffic light to change.
When we’re wired to get almost anything we want instantly with the press of a button, it’s no wonder that we feel so impatient about things out of our control. Luckily, it is possible to make positive changes in your life. If you feel like your impatience has gotten a little out of control, you’ve come to the right place!
Here are 5 strategies for how to learn patience.
The first step in learning how to be patient is learning how to be patient with yourself. Think about it, if you can’t be patient with yourself, how can you expect to be patient with others? The key to this is first being aware of when you’re being impatient. Take a step back and make a conscious effort to be more in touch with your own emotions and feelings. When you notice that you’re being impatient, take note of it. It can even help to keep a journal about this. You can write down the different situations that make you feel impatient so you can identify your triggers and actively make changes.
Another way you can learn to be patient with yourself is to make yourself wait for things, even if you could have it immediately. The idea is to not give into instant gratification and stop rushing everything. For example, wait a few minutes extra when a craving hits for dessert before treating yourself to it, or take a few minutes to sit with yourself before turning on your favorite TV show instead of turning it on the second you get into bed. Doing little things like this will help you learn how to be patient with yourself, which will help you be patient in other situations.
One reason that you might be impatient in the first place is due to stress. Stress can certainly exacerbate impatience. For example, if you’re in the car on your way to work and you’re stuck in traffic and you’re stressed out about your boss being mad at you for being late, you’re probably going to be much more impatient than you would be if you were just driving to the supermarket and not in a rush.
By reducing stress, you can reduce the risk that your impatience will spiral out of control, leaving you feeling angry and anxious. Some ways you can reduce stress in your day-to-day life as you’re working on how to learn patience are:
Mindfulness is an invaluable tool that will not only teach you how to learn patience, but also help benefit your mental health overall. Basically, mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment, aware of your surroundings, bodily sensations, and thoughts – all without judgement. Looking at life through a mindful lens takes some practice, because we are so used to judging and labeling our feelings and our current situations. It also involves acceptance, because you should be accepting the current moment as it is, without trying to change it.
So, how can mindfulness help you with how to learn patience? Well, let’s go back to the car stuck in traffic example. A non-mindful approach to that situation would be getting angry and anxious, trying to predict the future of how your boss would react, and being overcome with impatience. On the other hand, a mindful approach could include taking some deep breaths, becoming aware of the thoughts and feelings that arise, taking in your surroundings, noticing the colors of the cars around you, noticing how the air conditioner feels on your skin, feeling the sun coming in through the window... you get the picture. This is a much healthier approach, and you can use it in any situation where you feel yourself being impatient.
A lot of times, the things we’re impatient about are things that we can’t control, like a friend being late for dinner, a coworker taking longer than usual to answer an email, or a flight getting delayed. These things – no matter what we do – we can’t change. Stressing out about things that we can’t change will only cause us more distress and worsen the feeling of impatience. Instead, focusing on the things you can change can help you learn how to be patient.
For example, you can control if you choose to practice mindfulness in the moment, if you meditate while you wait, if you read a book while you wait, listen to a podcast, and so on. Instead of getting wrapped up in feeling impatient over something you can’t control, focus your energy onto something that you can control, especially if it’s something that passes the time!
While you are focusing on how to learn patience, it’s important to be patient with yourself. Oh, the irony! The reality of it is, you aren’t going to become a patient person overnight. It’s going to take time, during which you’re going to have to be patient. This will help you with how to learn patience for long term goals. Being patient in the long run is just as important as being patient for short term things. For example, you need to have patience as you wait for that job promotion, wait for your savings account to hit a certain dollar amount, or wait to meet the love of your life.
Becoming a patient person can change your life for the better. If you’re looking to make even more positive changes in your life, you can build healthy habits with our app and check out our 21 day challenge to help you reset your life and better yourself physically and mentally.
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