Everyone knows that patience is a virtue. The hitch is applying it consistently in our everyday lives… Would you like to learn to be more patient? Here are a few concrete ideas you can start using right now.
A) Improve your reaction to situations that could make you feel impatient
Yes, you can feel the tension mounting…. Your heart is beating faster, your jaw is tensing up, and you’re about to use some pretty salty language. What should you do?
1. Take three deep breaths
In any situation, make relaxation a priority. Take three very deep breaths while you relax the muscles in your body and your face. The situation will be much easier to manage if you don’t let things get on your nerves so much.
2. Ask yourself why you’re feeling impatient
Okay. Ask yourself why you’re so tense. Are you going to be late for an appointment? Are you really in such a hurry to get home, if only that bus would come? Sometimes we get frustrated for reasons that are quite absurd, in situations that are quite banal.
3. Find a bright side
Finding something positive about the situation helps with seeing things in perspective. Are you caught in traffic? Well, you’ve been wanting time to listen to your favourite music. Is the bus running late? Relax and catch a few rays.
B) Get used to living with situations that could make you feel impatient
If you feel impatient on a regular basis, a little practice can help you manage this type of situation in the future.
1. Stand in the longest line at the grocery store
That’s right – go and stand in the longest line deliberately, no matter how counter-intuitive that may seem. You’re training yourself to relax and savour the moment despite having to wait.
2. Have coffee on your own
Go to a café without your book, newspaper or phone. Sip your coffee with no distractions. Make that feeling last as long as you can!
3. Arrive 15 minutes early…
Basically, you’re training yourself to wait. Whether it’s meeting a friend or going to the dentist, you’ll learn to wait and even enjoy 15 minutes of doing nothing.
C) Try some activities that help you develop the virtue of patience
Some activities, when practiced regularly, can help you to become more patient by nature.
1. Try meditation
To some people, sitting for five minutes doing nothing seems like forever, but with practice, you’ll start to enjoy it! Once you get used to it, meditation can help any time you need to wait for something.
2. Take a mindful walk
Instead of walking as fast as you can, slow your pace. Take the time to breathe in the fragrance of the flowers and trees, feel the wind on your face and observe your surroundings. Whenever you start to feel yourself speeding up, slow down again.
3. Read – and finish! – a book
Reading a book through to the very end requires a lot of patience, and yes, it takes time. You can’t just skip pages or skim the way you do on your cell phone. Reading a book to the last page will help you get used to taking the time to do something thoroughly.
Once you become a more patient person, you’ll find you have fewer futile frustrations in your everyday life. In fact, your life will become more “Zen.” So go for it (patiently).