I have to tell you something. I am probably the most impatient person you can find around (unless you’re even more impatient, then I’m happy to give my impatience crown to you).
It’s probably a side effect of my anxious nature or just the fact that I am a human… But trying to be more patient has forever been my personal struggle.
If it’s a good thing, I used to get impatient AND overly excited at the same time. If it’s something bad I had to wait out, it would feel never-ending.
Sometimes, even keeping my attention locked on something could result in impatience because I just get bored so easily. Now, let me tell you why and how patience became so meaningful to me.
A few years ago, I was dealing with a health issue which has caused me serious health anxiety.
I was very unwell and, since I used to be a pretty healthy gal before, the feeling of every new painful sensation made me very nervous.
I thought that something was very wrong with me and all I wanted was for doctors to find the reason ASAP and tell me what I have to do to relieve that never-ending nightmare.
Just in case you’re wondering… It was a serious case of TMJ (a kind of jaw joint disorder).
It appeared overnight, I was in huge pain, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t talk for longer than 3 minutes, I couldn’t open my mouth more than half an inch, I had to take a lot of pain meds every day, go through several rounds of strong antibiotics and the only way I could sleep was by sitting up.
The whole situation lasted for months until I got finally diagnosed.
So this was extremely distressing to me and it was making me very impatient.
First of all, the lines at my hospital were so long that I had to wait days, weeks and even months to see various specialists that still needed to figure out what was causing me those symptoms.
Needless to say, my anxiety was over the roof and I’m happy that I at least knew how to minimize it until it felt bearable.
But the real need for patience hit me when I finally got diagnosed.
My doctor estimated that it will take months for me to recover.
Months. And guess what… It took way more than that.
It took about two years! Two years, Carl!
So, seeing my situation from aside and finally understanding that I will have to deal with a long recovery, I felt very uneasy and started to think about how I can help myself.
I knew I needed to be more patient.
As always, I began to research information on how to be more patient, according to scientists and psychologists.
I found some really helpful tips that actually helped me to go through this hard waiting/recovery period in a calm, patient, and kind of elegant way.
Today I want to share it all with you.
I will show you some of the best ways to be more patient and how YOU can master patience on your own, even if you think it’s impossible.
You will learn how to embrace waiting and feel at least a little more comfortable when you need to wait or wait something out.
How To Be More Patient
1. Practice Tolerating The Distress Of Waiting
Let’s admit it – waiting IS uncomfortable.
No matter how long you need to wait – 2 years to finish university or just 5 minutes in a grocery shop line… It still feels more or less unpleasant.
The good thing is that you actually can learn to be more patient and tolerate distress.
Here are a few CBT exercises that I did while practicing my patience:
- Create a trigger/helper plan. List all the things that are creating impatient feelings and plan on the ways to counter them.
For example, if you start feeling impatient when you have to wait for someone who’s late, this is your trigger.
List all the things you can do to help yourself against this trigger (like carrying a book in your bag, doing a breathing meditation while you wait, and similar).
You can get printable for a trigger/helper plan with my Anxiety Journal.
- Try to stop escaping. If the feeling of impatience creates an urge to escape the discomfort, try to counter it.
For example, a significant increase in pain has always made me impatient because it increased my health anxiety.
I didn’t like the pain and the thoughts that came with it and I just wanted it to go away.
Of course, I could always take another pill to deal with this pain… But that would mean that every time I got a new pain symptom, I would get the same result: pain > anxiety > more meds.
That’s not a healthy cycle.
So, I tried to wait as much as I can before taking those extra pain meds.
It helped me to be more patient and, to my surprise, many times the pain got lower just because my anxiety decreased.
- Try to accept the distress. I’ve already shared how important it is to stop fighting negative feelings and instead – feel them out completely (read the article here).
It applies to patience as well.
Whenever you feel impatient and distressed, remind yourself that it is completely natural to feel this way.
You don’t need to fight this or find a magic formula that ends it.
You can feel impatient and still be ok.
Having a negative feeling or emotion around does not make your life worse – it just makes it less comfortable.
You can notice these feelings and feel them out completely – this is a lot healthier for you emotionally than trying to hide these feelings deep inside.
2. Be More Patient By Practicing Waiting
Another thing that helps you to be more patient is actually practicing it on a daily basis.
You can do that by simply postponing your daily pleasures for as long as you can.
For example, if you like to eat a dessert after dinner, try postponing it until 15-20 minutes after dinner.
These small acts of patience may seem too small to have an impact, but practicing them every day actually adds up to teaching you how to be more patient.
3. Be Grateful For What You’ve Already Done or Endured
Back in those TMJ days, whenever I got angry and impatient thinking about how long I will have to suffer, I always reminded myself of one thing.
I forced myself to appreciate how much I’ve already endured. I mean, I still wasn’t well, but at least I had already gone through long hospital waiting for lines, several painful procedures, and other unpleasant stuff.
I felt grateful for it and it helped me to stay patient through the rest.
So whatever you need to wait through, be grateful for every second that has already passed.
It brings you closer to the thing you’re waiting for and reminds you that waiting is not going to last forever.
4. Be Mindful While You Wait
When you have to wait for something, it feels like forever.
But time goes by despite your waiting… The day you wait for WILL come sooner or later, so you might as well notice what is happening around you and try to enjoy the time while you’re waiting.
Being mindful and aware of your surroundings, things that are happening at the present moment and things that you sense can help improve feelings of wellness, relieve anxiety and even pain (tried and true this one!).
Mindfulness is becoming globally recognized for its ability to greatly improve both self-awareness and feelings of wellness.
Some schools are even starting to teach mindfulness to youngsters. You can learn more about practicing mindfulness in this article: 10 Calming Ways To Practice Mindfulness Every Day.
5. Increase Relaxation Time
Another trick that helps you to be more patient for as long as it’s possible is improving your distress.
Improving distress means minimizing it so it doesn’t feel so distressing.
But, since waiting distress is hard to minimize, it’s best to look for ways to improve your own wellness.
So, how to be more patient and feel better while you have to wait for something?
You can do that by having as many relaxing activities every day as you can.
Do something that helps you calm down and relax.
Also – something that boosts your mood and makes the waiting just a little less distressing, or a little more bearable.
To me, watching positive or educational videos, writing in a journal, or taking long warm showers worked the best.
Learning how to be more patient is an extremely useful thing to do.
It’s something that improves the quality of your whole upcoming life – it’s THAT significant.
My example shows how you can use patience practice to wait out long unpleasant periods of time, but patience will help you anywhere.
Waiting for the results of your work, waiting for something to happen, even waiting for winter to pass – everything can be improved with just a little bit of patience.
While mastering your patience, I recommend you to work on your resilience as well as it helps you to become a stronger person overall.
You can read more about it here:
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