Patience is the art of tolerating uncomfortable circumstances and persevering through challenges. Our modern culture rarely requires that we exercise much patience. When we have to wait on a product or service, it has become socially acceptable to voice our tension and frustration. Impatience is an emotion based in anger. Situations that make us impatient activate our fight or flight response and cause a cortisol release that triggers high levels of stress.
Most of us view patience as a virtuous quality. We admire it in other people and occasionally comment on our own impatience but rarely make it a priority. However, what if impatience is the thing holding you back from success? What if training yourself to be more patient would better your health as well as your professional life?
3 ways that patience will change your life
- 1Improved Decision Making. Success takes time, but often we choose the convenient option instead of the best option. Take a minute to think back to decisions you have made – personal or professional – that would have been improved by patience. Patience is power. Actively choosing to wait for the opportune moment saves yourself the negative consequences of decisions made in haste.
- 2Healthier Relationships. Often we place high expectations on the people closest to us. We want people to operate similarly to us and when they don’t we become impatient or even angry in response. In hindsight it’s typically easy to see our anger as irrational. Learning to be calm when people don’t respond according to our expectations saves us heartache and guilt.
- 3Improved Physical and Mental Health. As I mentioned above, impatience makes our cortisol levels rise. This is a toxic hormone that causes damage to our organs including our brain. Too much stress causes headaches, insomnia, stomach discomfort, increased heart rate, muscle tension and even changes in sex drive. There’s rarely a good reason to expose yourself to such a myriad of health consequences.
how to be more patient
The first step to improving your patience is noticing your primary triggers. Perhaps it’s easy to be patient and compassionate toward others, but you lose your temper with technology. Maybe you regularly respond with anger. Have you ever considered the possibility it could be the symptom of a deeper problem like depression? Whatever it may be, take some time to note the situations most likely to make you impatient.
Once aware of what sets you off, make a plan for coping. Some great methods to ward off impatience are:
- Meditation or deep breathing exercises
- Daydreaming or mental visualization of a place that brings you peace
- Carrying a stress ball or something to fidget with and distract yourself
Find the trick that works for you and make it a habit every time you are tempted toward impatience. Patience is a virtue but it’s also vital to your personal success. Your mental energy and physical health are too valuable to waste.