Do you remember being told as you were growing up that patience is a virtue?
Over the years, I have also learned that patience is a necessity. It’s one of the key qualities needed to achieve what we want with ease and flow.
Obviously, it’s an important trait, but it is one not many of us find easy to embrace. It might sound simple when we tell someone to be patient, but the hurdle is in how to learn patience.
And what does it mean anyway?
The Collins Dictionary says,
“If you have patience, you are able to stay calm and not get annoyed. For example, when something takes a long time or someone is not doing what you want them to.”
Easier said than done eh?
The thing is, becoming patient more often is also crucial in keeping our stress levels down. Blowing our top regularly causes an increase in the release of stress hormones and, in the long term, can even lead to high blood pressure.
As a teenager, I remember being very impatient. I would lose it at the drop of a hat, especially if you put me near a sewing machine. These days it’s more likely poorly timed traffic lights that can get my goat if I’m not being mindful.
Also, in this age of instant gratification and the speed of the online world, it’s becoming more difficult to be patient. We tend to expect things to happen immediately, but often they don’t.
The good news is that as we age, we tend to acquire this skill more naturally. And during my lifetime I have become aware of some simple practices that help. Here are 5 simple practices to learn patience.
1. Remind Yourself Why Learning Patience Is Important
Aside from the obvious health benefits of being patient, there are also other reasons why this virtue is essential. I always find these reasons to be helpful during my greatest challenges.
If we get annoyed or frustrated, it affects our attitude, thinking, and behavior. We become less productive and lose focus and clarity. Impatience also causes us to communicate poorly, which can harm our relationships.
When we stay calm, we become more mindful in our daily lives because we see things differently. We become more compassionate towards others improving our relationships. Plus, we get so much more done in much less time because we are more focused.
There is also the energetic component of impatience. If we regularly lose our cool, we create an energetic space of resistance. This makes it difficult to achieve what we want and slows the manifestation process down.
Through the virtue of patience, we place ourselves in the energetic space of allowance. This means we can achieve more, often in less time and without the need to push. We create a pull motion instead.
Reminding yourself of this if you’re tempted to fly off the handle will help.
2. Breathing Properly Calms the Nerves
If we feel stressed out or impatient it’s a sign we are too much into our thoughts.
Ruminating and wanting something to happen immediately causes our stress levels to rise. And before we know it, we are steaming from the ears. Doing this repetitively means it eventually becomes an automatic response and difficult to change.
At times like this, we tend to shallow breathe. In fact, we spend most of our waking hours in shallow breaths. And it’s only when we become more mindful about our breath that we change it.
Shallow breathing causes the supply of oxygen to the brain to be decreased. This stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers the “fight-flight” response. In this survival response, our heart rate and blood pressure increase, and our muscles tense ready for action. This increases the negative emotion.
So, shallow breathing causes a vicious cycle. We can reverse this cycle by breathing deeply and more slowly.
The American Institute of Stress says,
“Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.”
By regularly practicing deep breathing, we feel more connected to our bodies in our daily lives. This interrupts that automatic stress response, allowing us to be more patient.
You can also use your deep breath to calm down during a heated moment too.
3. Meditation Helps You Learn Patience
This is a practice that so many people avoid or think they can’t do, but the benefits are great. This includes the resulting increase in patience.
We need to practice the art of patience to meditate and through the process of regular meditation, we increase our capacity to be patient. This is through the journey of learning to manage our minds.
As a coach and meditation teacher, I have realized that many people have a misunderstanding of meditation. Most people I meet who don’t meditate think it is about switching off their minds. They have a belief that to practice this ancient art “correctly,” they need to have no thoughts.
Well, this just isn’t true. Our thoughts are a necessary part of meditation, and here’s why.
Meditation is the practice of learning to manage our thoughts to enable us to focus on one thing. It is the process of being the observer of our thoughts instead of buying into them. This allows our thoughts to just pass through so we can return to our point of focus.
As we do this daily, even if just for ten minutes, we learn to quiet our minds and this increases our levels of patience. Every one of us can meditate when we change the way we see it and understand its true purpose.
By adopting your own practice and making it part of your daily routine, your levels of patience will rise.
4. Switch Your Focus to Something More Resourceful
Just as we move our focus from our thoughts during meditation, we can also do this if we feel impatient. Regularly meditating will help you do this during the day.
As we move our focus, our frustration levels decrease.
The way we feel is a result of what we are thinking about. If we feel annoyed about something, it’s generally because we are telling ourselves it should be some other way.
For example, if we keep getting red traffic lights on the way to work, we might feel frustrated. This is normally because we think it should be different or we tell ourselves we don’t have time or we will be late.
There is no way to change the red traffic lights right? It is what it is!
Or is there?
You see, when we change our focus to something else—let’s say we start to look for green trees or green cars—it will change the way we feel. We calm down.
There is also the belief that “what we focus on, we get more of”. As we focus on more green objects, we notice the traffic lights become green as we travel to work.
Now, you may call me crazy, but hear me out here because I have done this so many times.
In the “strong force” described in quantum physics, it is said that like particles attract like particles. This means that when we focus on what we want, we attract more of that.
While we keep ruminating about how things should be different, we freeze up this process and cause more impatience. We also experience more of what we don’t want.
By moving your focus to something else before you feel like hitting the roof, you will start to feel more patient. This allows the flow of quantum physics to work in your favor. You can even do this after you’ve been triggered, too.
5. Acceptance Is the Key
Apart from the positive results that can be gained by changing our focus, there is often nothing that can be done to change things. At times like this, it really is what it is.
Whether we can or can’t change things, the practice of acceptance will help us stay calm. This is another of those important virtues and it’s not about giving up.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that we are happy about what’s happening. And it certainly doesn’t mean we don’t want to change things. It just means we don’t want to give ourselves an even harder time. We just want to let it go.
In the process of letting it go, we begin to feel calm and more patient again. This also increases our levels of compassion and understanding with others, too., which brings positive benefits to our relationships.
So, if you feel like you are about to lose your temper with something or someone, remind yourself that it is what it is. Decide to let go and then choose from a more resourceful space what you might like to change.
To Sum It Up
Patience is indeed a virtue, but it also a necessary trait to live a happy and fulfilled life. Our physical health and mind have the greatest leverage over everything we experience and achieve.
This quality is not only a trait—it is also a way of being. And when we learn to live as a more patient person, every part of our life will improve.
More Tips on How to Learn Patience
- 8 Steps To Follow To Become More Patient
- How to Practice Patience and Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life
- How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressed
Featured photo credit: Ümit Bulut via unsplash.com
|||^||Collins Dictionary: Patience|
|||^||The American Institute of Stress: Take a Deep Breath|
|||^||Heart Space: Does The Law of Attraction Exist in Quantum Physics?|