I am not the most patient person in the world. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I confess to getting impatient in line at the grocery store, waiting for traffic to move along, waiting for other people to do this or that, or waiting for things to fall into place in my life.
But I’m working on it.
Here’s 5 ways I’m working toward living more patiently and I invite you to join me.
1. Put it in perspective.
Instead of taking the emotional speed train to impatience, think about the situation logically and objectively. And ask yourself, “In the grand scheme of things, is my extra 30 seconds spent at a traffic light going to break me?” “On this beautiful blue planet, does this situation really matter all that much?” Firmly remind yourself, that it always works out, one way or the other.
2. Don’t take it personally.
Believe it or not the world doesn’t revolve around you. It doesn’t run on your schedule. It doesn’t do what you want it to do just because you want it to. Everyone has something going on. No one and no thing is out to get you, so don’t take the inconveniences personally. It’s not about you. Instead practice some compassion. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Try to see things from another point of view other than your own.
3. Control what you can.
You can’t control the lines at the store. You can’t control other drivers. You can’t control other people. You can’t control so many things in your life! But here’s one thing you can control. Your emotions. Remind yourself that those situations and those people cannot reach inside you and make you impatient. You are the one in charge of that. You are responsible for your own impatience. Once you take responsibility for it, you can change it. Perhaps to compassion, forgiveness, or patience.
4. Exercise patience
Imagine patience to be a muscle that you want to develop. To develop a muscle, you must exercise it, taking on increasingly heavy weights. Eventually, that muscle will be very strong. Unfortunately impatience is like a muscle too. You’ve been exercising that muscle, getting more and more impatient and now that is a very strong muscle. Exercise patience instead to get better and better at it. Do this by starting with something small. Stay patient in the small thing, then challenge the patience muscle to a bigger situation.
5. Celebrate opportunities
Moments in your day, situations in your life, that don’t go as planned or according to your schedule can be great opportunities to:
- Practice exercising the patience muscle. “Oh good, I get to practice patience again. The more I do, the stronger it gets.”
- Slow down, take a pause. “Oh good, a moment to catch my breath today.”
- Reassess. “Oh good, an opportunity to take inventory of my life, get clear, and discern what is the next right thing for me to do.”
Patience is a practice. It’s not something that you choose to do once and done. It is something that you choose again and again. It’s going to be difficult at first. But it’s going to get easier.
Choosing patience, or other renewing emotions, again and again can be difficult! To support you in making that choice, check out The 42 Day Choice Challenge, here!
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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