8 Secrets to Being Patient: A Guide For Impatient People

being patient

Being patient is a lot harder than it looks, trust me – I’m the most patient impatient person I know.

Do you feel a constant sense of urgency? Do you push and push to be productive as quickly as possible? Do you bulldoze your way through every experience and miss it in the process? Yep, me too. Worst of all, I had no idea I was even on the instant gratification roller coaster until I was too burnt out to continue.

I’m what they call a “patient impatient” person – my mind tells me to fill every moment of my day with tasks, while my body counters the constant nagging by taking a nap (kind of like my ex-boyfriend). Being patient is not my forte, but when you look back on your twenties and your only reaction is, “WTF?” you know it’s time to make a change.

Fair warning: Being patient is an art. Since society won’t be changing with you, you’ll be up against a constant “new you” versus “old you” tug-of-war until you’ve conditioned yourself to stick it out. Being patient takes… well, patience. From time-to-time your life’s going to feel like an after-school special, but your health will thank you for the extra effort.

Continue doing what you’re doing and you’ll be well on your way to a life of chronic hypertension, high blood pressure, maybe even heart disease. Yuck, right? Take the following secrets to being patient to heart, and it will make a big difference to your overall well-being:

1. Keep track of your impatience.
Knowledge is power – every time you feel impatient, keep track of when it happened and why. This will make you aware of what your stress triggers are so you can work toward being patient in these moments.

2. Stop looking at the clock.
Obsessing over what time it is or how long you’ve been waiting takes you away from the present moment and distracts you. Sure, racing against the clock might get things done faster, but probably in poor quality.

3. Stop checking your e-mail/phone every 35 seconds.
Sorry, but nothing is that important! Turn off instant notifications and only check for new messages when it’s actually time to.

4. Accept the present moment.
When you’re stuck in traffic, stuck in line, or basically stuck anywhere you don’t want to be, it doesn’t mean the universe is against you. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to practice being patient, so you’re putting the time to good use.

5. Chew your food slowly.
Do you remember the last time you really tasted  and enjoyed your food? Neither do I. Eating slowly (and seated at an actual table instead of in front of the TV) will encourage you to stay in the moment while focusing on one thing only – a habit that will translate into other areas of your life.

6. Talk slower.
The faster you talk, the edgier you feel. What starts out as an adrenaline rush turns into a surge of cortisol (the stress hormone). Being patient means saying bye-bye to your motor mouth. Also, there’s something to be said for listening more.

7. Talk to yourself.
I know, weird, but hear me out: When your mind’s putting all of your thoughts into a proverbial blender and you’re starting to freak out, the best thing you can do is give yourself a quick pep talk. By talking through it, you’ll cut your psychotic break short and get back to the business of one step at a time.

8. Take up hobbies that require being patient.
Activities with a steep learning curve can’t be mastered without being patient. Yoga, gardening, painting – any activity that requires your full concentration will help you appreciate being patient and how rewarding it can be.

How has being patient enhanced your life?

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Image: vwynx

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).