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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

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.

How to Write a Good SMART Goal Statement for Success How to Use the Theories of Motivation to Keep Yourself Uplifted How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide) How to Learn Patience to Get Your Thoughts and Feelings Under Control 9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success

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Published on May 3, 2021

How To Get Over Anxiety: 5 Professional Tips

How To Get Over Anxiety: 5 Professional Tips

Anxiety is killing our mental energy. It is, after all, the leading mental health issue in our society today.  In 2017 alone, more than 284 million people experienced anxiety across the globe, making it the most prevalent mental health disorder globally.[1]

If you are asking the question, “how do I get over my anxiety?”, then this article is for you. I’ve put together a list of my top strategies to help you get over your anxiety. These are the same strategies that have worked for many of my clients over the years, and I think they can work for you too!

Anxiety is, in general terms, as uneasiness or nervousness about an undetermined outcome. Sometimes, this worry and uneasiness is quite excessive and goes from something that we can manage on our own to something for which we need professional help.  If your worry or apprehension includes panic attacks or compulsive behaviors, consider reaching out to a therapist or a doctor for more professional help.

I like to think of anxiety as information—a sign that something is off in your life. It could be a global pandemic, a challenge at work, instability in relationships, or the sign of a larger mental health issue.  Whatever it is, it’s good to think this through and be asking the questions that will help you uncover the parts of your life that could use some adjusting.

Again, consulting with a therapist or counselor, even just for a brief period of time, can help decipher some of these questions for you.  And if you want to give it a go on your own, well that takes us to the first of my five tips on how to get over anxiety.

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Here are 5 tips on how to get over anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.

1. The Mighty Journal

You will be amazed by the power of journaling—the path of self-discovery it can lead you down. The best part of journaling is that there is no right or wrong here. It is a private place where you can work through the stuff in your head and figure some things out.

There are lots of formats for journaling, and I have personally changed my own approach several times depending on what was going on and what I was looking for.  It could be that narrative of your day or bullets with highlights or thoughts of the day.

To make the most out of your journaling I would encourage you to push yourself and go beyond a recount of the day’s events. What you really want here is to get into your thought process and understand the feelings behind the thoughts. Timelines can also be a great way to gain some understanding of relationships and the different events in your life. Again, it is a matter of what works for you.

The pen truly is mightier than. . . the meds?!? My own little psych-mashup.

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2. Schedule Your Self-Care Time

What are the ways you treat yourself? Life is busy and when life demands increase, self-care is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside. But it is critical that you build in your “you time” because when stress levels increase, so will anxiety.

If self-care is not something that you are accustomed to thinking about, I listed some ideas for you to consider.  Keep in mind that if you schedule it with someone else, it might help with accountability.

Think about working smaller chunks of time into the workweek and then something a little more extensive on the weekend, like a hike, excursion, creative home project, or even the occasional weekend away.

Self-care ideas:[2]

  • Take your lunchtime away from your desk, and get outside for a walk or join a colleague for some casual chitchat.
  • Schedule a massage or trip to the spa/salon.
  • Watch a favorite movie or TV show, either on your own or with your favorite person/people.
  • Work out, inside or out—anything that gets your heart rate up.
  • Go on an evening or afternoon walk.
  • Tap into your creative outlet, break out that knitting, woodwork, artwork, or instrument.
  • Dance, at home with your kids, partner, or on your own.  Play your favorite tunes and do your thing!

You can also try these 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself.

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3. Listen to Your Music

Music speaks to our soul. It is a go-to for many of us when in need of a pick-me-up or just blowing off some steam. But sometimes, life gets busy, and we don’t incorporate it into our life the way we once did—finding ourselves in a music deficient rut, listening to the same boring stuff on the radio.

Let this be a reminder to explore the new music out there. Streaming services have revolutionized our access to music and have made it easier than ever before. Explore it and find your jam.

Additionally, music therapy is a growing form of therapy built on the research that it helps decrease pain, blood pressure, and—you guessed it—anxiety while also increasing mood, healing, and overall positivity.[3]

Medical Doctors are using it more and more in operating rooms and incorporating it into their practices. If you subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music, you can just type in “relaxing music” and you will be sure to find something that will do the trick, bringing calm and focus into your life.  In my research for this article, I came across some great ones., and they are now a part of my daily rotation.

4. The Five Senses Exercise

When we experience heightened anxiety, I think of it as the physical energy rising from our feet to our head like a thermometer. Sometimes, this energy can even bring us to a place where we feel disconnected from our bodies. The 5 senses exercise will help you reconnect yourself to your body and bring your anxiety levels down to a more manageable level.

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The 5 senses exercise is a mindfulness exercise where you connect your 5 senses to your present environment. This is a great way to ground yourself and bring your attention and your energy to the here and now.  What I love about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. If you start to feel your anxiety creep up, this could be a good strategy to center yourself and possibly ward off a panic attack or prolonged anxiety.

The process is simple:

  1. Start by taking a few deep breathes, inhaling as you count to 3, and then exhaling as you count to 3.
  2. Next, identify 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch and feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
  3. Take it in, give yourself a few minutes.
  4. Repeat if needed, and carry on.

5. Mindset Matters

This last one is a big one. A lot of times, anxiety waxes and wanes with how we think about something. Be mindful of your negative self-talk, keeping it in check and working to incorporate perspective. If you know that you are headed into something challenging, prepare yourself for it mentally and allow yourself to be ok with the challenge. After all, the challenge helps us grow and develop.

Also, remember that life is full of choices—granted the options in front of us may be less than ideal, but remember that they are there.  Incorporating some of these above strategies could be one of the first choices you make to create change in your life and get a hold of the anxiety

A quick easy way to get some perspective is to acknowledge the things that you are grateful for (this is also a mindfulness practice).  The gratitude journal is one way to do this where you write down three to five things that you are grateful for every day. Try it out for a week or so and see how you feel. Of course, the more time you practice this, the more you will feel the benefits.

Summing It Up

Anxiety is something that we all experience from time to time, working to identify the source of your anxiety will help you discover the best strategies for you. However, there are some definite best practices that you can incorporate into your life that are sure to minimize your anxiety and keep you living the active and fulfilling life you want.

More Tips on Coping With Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Fernando @cferdo via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Our World in Data: Mental Health
[2] NCBI: Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment, and Treatment
[3] Harvard Health Publishing: How music can help you heal

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