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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Learn Patience to Get Your Thoughts and Feelings Under Control

How to Learn Patience to Get Your Thoughts and Feelings Under Control

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,[1]

“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.

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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.

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The American Institute of Stress says,[2]

“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.

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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.[3] 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.

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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

Featured photo credit: Ümit Bulut via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Collins Dictionary: Patience
[2] The American Institute of Stress: Take a Deep Breath
[3] Heart Space: Does The Law of Attraction Exist in Quantum Physics?

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a professional mindset speaker and a transformational life, business and career coach. Specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

How to Customize a Self-Care Plan That Works For You

How to Customize a Self-Care Plan That Works For You

With all that’s going on in the world right now, we have to take care of ourselves and those close to us more than ever. Most importantly, we have to learn proper self-care if we want to stay mentally and physically healthy.

What is Self-Care?

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is self-care?

Really, it’s anything that we do that takes care of our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. Because it is such a broad term, it gives us some liberty as to how we want to implement it into our life.

We can also think of it in terms of this question: “how do you take care of yourself?”

When asked this, we can start to think of how we tend to our most primal needs. In essence, self-care is a habitual, conscious routine that we do to take care of our wholesome self. It brings us back into balance with ourselves, as we ebb and flow with the ups and downs of life.

Our self-care plan acts as an anchor when things get too one-sided and reminds us that we have a routine in place that can bring us back to homeostasis.[1]

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What Are the Benefits of Self-Care?

Think back on a time when you really treated yourself. How did it feel? Did you feel lighter, more joyful, more present with the world?

These are some of those butterfly feelings that you can expect when you tune into your self-care plan. When we do good by our wholesome health, we feel good! Sticking to a self-care routine reduces our anxiety, curtails depression, and brings us back to present-moment awareness.

These mental and emotional improvements significantly affect our physical health: lower blood pressure, improved sleep, focused concentration, and a clearer path to exercise and proper nutrition.

A self-care plan also allows us to better take care of our immune system. To paint this in a clearer picture, imagine your immune system as the master dashboard screen on a highly-technical computer. It governs everything. When we take care of this dashboard system, we know everything that feeds off of it is running smoothly.

The same can be said of our physical immune system. When we take care of ourselves in every way, our immune system can be stronger to fight off pathogens and diseases, thus keeping us healthier for longer. In this day and age, that is more important than ever![2]

Customizing Your Plan

Now that you’re ready to get started creating your own routine, here are a few suggestions on how to begin.

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1. Observe What Is Out of Balance Today

It may be your physical health or your emotional state of being. Perhaps you’ve been under a lot of stress at work and your mind just needs a reset. Observe what feels out of alignment and where you tend to struggle. This will give you a clearer picture of where you need to prioritize your self-care.

2. Make a Clear Outline of Prioritizing Your Health

When you know what needs more care, you can create a roadmap for yourself. This may look like a simple outline on a piece of paper, or you may want to draw it out or use this template as a creative starting point.

This allows you to get all of your ideas out of your head and into something tangible that you can hold on to. For accountability, stick it on your fridge or your mirror![3]

3. Keep It Simple

Before you get into the nitty-gritty, remind yourself to keep it simple. There is so much information online and in self-help books that it can be overwhelming to take it all in.

Sometimes, it may feel as if we need to completely revamp our entire life to feel like we’re truly taking care of ourselves. In reality, when we come back to simplicity, this is where our health truly blossoms. When we can cut ties with too much work, involvement, stress, and over-doing, we can return to the basics of a happy life.

Keep this in mind as you attract what brings you peace and health and what (and who) keeps you from it.

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4. Choose Categories That You’d Like to Give More Attention To

These may be relationships, work, intimacy, money, exercise, or anything else that is important to you. Think back again on areas where you feel like you could use some more love and attention. From there, categories may naturally arise.

On the other hand, if it’s easier, feel free to simply list out categories that are broad and general, such as mental health, physical health, spiritual health, and emotional health.

5. Creatively Ask Yourself How You’d Like to Take Care of Yourself

For each of the categories above (or any that you created), think about ways that you’d like to take care of yourself. This question really gets into the marrow of self-care. It’s all about what you want.

If you’re a caretaker or someone who gives a lot to others, this may be a hard question to answer. Stick with it! It is teaching you how to prioritize yourself, perhaps for the first time! Some of your answers may be super simple, like taking more walks during lunch rather than sitting in your office. Perhaps they’re more complex and grandiose, like finally taking that dream vacation.

There are no right and wrong answers here; only what brings you joy!

6. Implement Your Answers

Make an appointment in your calendar or set an alarm to remind you to take that walk or drink more water. Plans without action just collect dust on pieces of paper. When you implement your ideas, they slowly begin to create your new healthful habits.

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Over time, this will become second-nature. For the time being, if it helps, think about an accountability buddy with whom you can share this experience. They can help you stick to your self-care plan and maybe even join in!

7. Give Yourself a Break

Life happens, and we don’t always stick to our self-care routine. Practice forgiveness! This is also just as much a part of your self-care plan as anything else. Forgiveness reminds us that we are human and that we have off days. It removes the guilt and grief that we carry when we’re subconsciously striving for perfection.

Final Thoughts

Self-care is any practice that brings us back to our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. When we align with what brings us joy, we take better care of ourselves! Not only do we directly benefit from this, but so do the people and the world around us.

While the overload of self-care information is available to us in large dosages, it’s helpful to know that our self-care plan is entirely up to us to create. There is great liberty in knowing that we can craft the kind of routine that speaks to us in simplicity and authenticity.

More Tips on Having a Self-Care Plan

Featured photo credit: Amanda Lins via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] PsychCentral: What Self-Care Is and What It Isn’t
[2] Community Partnerships: The Importance of Self-Care
[3] Social Work Tech: Making a Self-Care Plan

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