How to Practice Patience

Patience is known as a virtue for a reason. According to the dictionary it is, “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” It isn’t easy to be patient and anyone who’s ever had to exercise patience knows that very well. Patience might be even more difficult to practice in our digital age where everything seems to be instant. This is why there has never been a greater need for it in our lives. The good news it is something that can be learned and improved upon with time and effort.

1. Settle down

Take a deep breath and ease yourself into your emotions. Try to relax every muscle in you body. Relax you shoulders and your jaw. Continue to take deep breaths until your reason takes over and you can examine yourself. Imagine your frustration melting away.

2. Acknowledge your feelings and address them

When feelings of impatience start to creep up, you must acknowledge where they are coming from. Pin point exactly what it is that is making you worried, anxious, or upset. Ask yourself why you are having these feelings. Impatience is often a byproduct of unchecked emotions. Acknowledge why those feelings exist and know that you can overcome them. Nobody else can make you feel anything but you. The knowledge that you and you alone are in control of your feelings is liberating. Consider this an exercise in mental strength.

3. Write it down

If it all seems too much, put it on paper. Writing down feelings helps to de-clutter the mind and gives you an outlet to vent. If you are consistent in writing down every time you get impatient it will help you identify and understand the triggers that tend to cause these feelings. In time they will become easier to deal with.

4. Remind yourself that things worthwhile take time

Although you might want instant gratification, know that sometimes the best things come to those who wait. Impatience can come in the way of building something really great. We all know the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. It is cliché but true, good things take time to grow and to develop.

5. Distract yourself with something productive

Instead of just waiting around for whatever is going to happen, distract yourself a little by doing something productive. I always feel better after going for a workout. Not only do I feel I’m improving my body and my health, it also gets my mind off the situation I’m in and relieves frustration. The added bonus is the endorphin rush you get from working out. Other activities you can try include organizing your closet, writing down a list of tasks you’d like to have completed, or washing your car.

6. Train yourself

The key to having excellent patience is practice. How, you may ask? Practice exercising patience in short term situations such as waiting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for someone to call you back. If you can take control of your emotions in small-scale situations, it will get easier to control your emotions in more complex situations.

7. Be cool with discomfort

No matter how much you practice patience, you’re never going to get to the point where you don’t feel anything. Learn to accept the discomfort of the situation. Thing of it like stretching, it hurts but you tolerate it because you know it is a necessary part of becoming more flexible. Yoga instructors always tell you to ease into the burn of the pose, to feel the burn and accept it. The next time your patience is tested, try to accept it. If you stretch enough you’ll soon have to go very deep into a stretch to feel the burn. The same can be said about patience, the more you exercise your patience the more tolerant you will get to frustrating situations.

8. Look to the gospel

Here are some verses that can help when you are feeling impatient. Isn’t the bible amazing?

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the word gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” — John 15:27

“For we walk by faith not by sight” — 2 Corinthians 5:7

“And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:14

9. Pray

Commit it to God with the knowledge that he is in control. Sometimes impatience is God’s way of teaching us that we have no control over our lives and a reminder that everything is ultimately in his hands.

What are the ways you deal with impatience? 


Photo by (Flickr CC): Fernando