How to be Patient

According to Merriam-Webster, patient means, and I quote, “accepting pains or hardships calmly or without complaint,” but we will learn it also deals with our state of mind and reactions.  Impatience happens when we want to complete tasks in less time or wish to avoid things we do regularly.  Through this article, I will share how to have patience and how this will improve our life. 

We have all experienced impatience in one part of our life, whether waiting for something, a person, or a specific situation.  Unfortunately, even a short period of impatience may still lead to frustration, stress & anxiety.  Thus, we must avoid or mitigate it as quickly as possible for the greater good of all concerned.

One way to be patient is to practice living or being in the moment.  You may have heard this before, but what does it mean?  Sit in a chair and notice your breathing rate and how your clothes feel in contact with your skin.  Then be aware of what you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.  Another great thing to do is to smile and enjoy everything around you, internally and externally.

Living in the moment helps us to be patient, and another great way to do this is to show and feel gratitude for everything.  An excellent exercise I share is to use the alphabet and start with the letter ‘A’ and name two things you are grateful to have in your life.  For example, I am so happy and thankful that there is Air in my life to allow me to breathe in life.  I am so excited and grateful that there are birds in the sky that sing and fly.  The critical thing to remember is to visualize what you are grateful for and feel it in your heart.  Remember to go through the entire alphabet and habitually do this at least once a day or week.

Work on one thing at a time instead of multitasking, which frustrates us and creates impatience.  When one works on multiple items at a time, their energy is scattered, and creativity gets diluted.  Thus start by making a list of what you need to get done, prioritize the list, and then work on one task in the set priority order until completion.

Everyone I talk to wants to get things done faster than ever without paying attention to the detail.  Maybe this might sound crazy, but tasks get done faster with much enjoyment when you do something you like.  How quickly can I get the job done, rather than how do I do it in a natural flow? 

Whether at school, at work, at home, or in an organization, listening is a skill that will make us more patient.  When we understand how to communicate by listening well, the listener and speaker have more patience.  The speaker enjoys that the listener is paying attention and wants to understand.  The listener has no stress because they have a clear picture or understanding of what needs to be done.

Remember when you were in kindergarten or even a grade school kid and got your first bubble mix container?  What color was the container?  How heavy was it?  What thoughts went through your head when you saw the picture of others making bubbles on the container’s label?  How about the moment you unscrewed the cap, probed for the magic bubble wand, blew into it, or gave it glide?  I bet you felt happy, curious, and playful all at the same time.

Yes, when we are happy, curious, and playful, the dopamine level in our brain increases, and our creativity starts to spark unique ideas.  When we play as though we are a kid, we have abundant patience.  No matter your physical age, realize you can be a playful kid in spirit anytime, harness your creativity, and magic happens.

One way to stay creative and be patient is to play as if you were a kid or, in other words, creatively play with what your doing:  thinking, writing, etc., and the outcome will amaze you.  Playing doesn’t work for most people as they do it under pressure, and it is not genuinely playing but a job.  Thus, take your tasks, play with them, and see how they work together.

Another great technique is to imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes.  People often get frustrated and lose their patience because they feel the other person doesn’t understand them.  Putting yourself in another’s shoes will help you get a different perspective on the situation and often allow you some empathy for the situation at hand.  Remember to try on only one person’s shoes, but several, as each will give you a different view and understanding of the scenario.  The best part about this technique is no one will ever know you are doing it, and it is incredibly effective. 

Whether you are eating at home or a restaurant, choosing to eat slower will have many effects, including but not limited to better health and an increase in patience.  It works because this causes us to break a pattern in our life and adapt to something new.  Why this affects us; is a great question. 

Another thing that I share with many is to practice being slightly uncomfortable each day.  In time you adapt to the change as your RAS (Reticular Activating System) also changes and raises its limits to which it now feels are safe.  Thus, make yourself a little more uncomfortable each time, and a permanent, positive change will be yours.

Patience, we have learned, is a valuable skill that we are not born with at birth and need to master if we want to be successful in our world.  Sometimes we may be impatient, and other times those around us lack patience.  I shared many techniques to practice becoming more patient but remember it is a journey and takes time.


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