8 Tips for Cultivating More Patience
You’ve heard that patience is a virtue, and that all good things take time, and that hard work pays off. These are all really nice sayings, but actually practicing patience day in and day out? In your relationships and on the job and with the changes you’re making to your lifestyle to feel healthier? Yeah, practicing it is harder.
If you’re like so many others, you probably find it difficult to be patient. Keep scrolling for eight tips on how to develop it as a habit in your own life.
1. Boost your empathy. Often, the struggle to be patient actually has to do with the other people involved in a given moment. With that in mind, eharmony chief of advice Jeannie Assimos suggests practicing more empathy. “Patience is all about reminding yourself that there are others to consider in all situations in life,” she tells us. “Take a step back, remove yourself from the situation for a moment, and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
2. Consider what’s really urgent. Sometimes, everything feels like it has to happen on a rush schedule. This world of ours moves really fast and there’s lots of pressure to keep up. Psychotherapist Beth Scarlett suggests that we slow down and home in on what’s actually urgent, versus what just feels that way. “I take the extra step of externalizing or personifying my impatience so I can argue with it,” Scarlett says. “‘Hey urgency, do you have a hot date or something? Slow your roll!’ This has the added bonus of helping me laugh at myself and not take things so seriously.”
3. Practice daily gratitude. According to marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor Allison Zamani, one of the major sources of impatience is a frustration with the goals that we still have yet to achieve. Fight that frustration by focusing on all of the things that are going well and all of the things that you’ve already accomplished. Spend a few minutes daily writing or reflecting on what you’re grateful for.
4. Respond before you react. If you can slow the pace and lower the intensity of your interactions with other people, you’ll be calmer and more patient in other aspects of your day. Learn to practice patience in your conversations and relationships. “Many times, we blurt out the first thought that goes through our mind, impulsively and impatiently,” wellness and healthy lifestyle expert Miriam Amselem says. “By taking a moment to think before speaking, you will respond instead of react.”
5. Adopt a meditation practice. Mindfulness can go a long way toward helping you cultivate patience. Psychotherapist Kristin Anderson encourages you to develop a consistent meditation routine, practice breathing exercises, and enjoy quiet moments when you might otherwise feel the urge to pick up your phone or watch TV.
6. Put the screen down. “One way to cultivate more patience is to put down your phone!” therapist and coach Tess Brigham tells us. “Our phones, and the ability to communicate more easily, have made us incredibly impatient.” As hard as it may be at first, resist the temptation to pull out your phone next time you’re standing in a line or waiting to meet a friend for a drink. When you retrain yourself to be alone with your thoughts, you’ll likely find that you’re able to dial up the patience in your life across the board.
7. Keep healthy distractions on hand. Yes, it is important to put down your phone, but there are healthy ways you can use your devices to temper your impatience if you can truly commit to steering clear of social media, texting, and other phone functions that fuel your need for instant gratification. Business coach and keynote speaker Lindsay Anvik recommends keeping productive distractions like interesting articles or podcasts easily available so you can direct your attention to something constructive if you’re feeling antsy.
8. Think about where your impatience comes from. Licensed professional counselor Sarah Lucas notes that impatience is often a symptom of another struggle that you’re having below the surface. Spend some time thinking about what’s really behind your tendency to be impatient so you can deal with it more directly. “It might be a sign that you’re overwhelmed by too many tasks, your timelines are too tight, or that you’re simply stressed,” Lucas says. “Once you identify the original culprit, you can tackle it head on. Taking something off your plate, setting more appropriate boundaries, and being more clear about expectations will help eliminate stress and leave more room for a clear mind.”
(Photo credit Getty)