5 Lessons on How to Be More Patient

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - samuelfrancisjohnson

Interested in improving your daily life by learning how to be more patient? Impatience often prevents us from achieving our goals. We’ll show you how easy it can be to learn patience and practice self-composure in a couple simple steps.

In order to learn how to be patient, it makes sense to first understand what patience actually is. Simply put, patience can be described as one’s ability to wait. It’s the period of endurance we must muster amidst difficult circumstances. And if we can’t, negativity sets in. In many situations, it takes more courage to remain calm and patient than it does to act rashly.

The Importance of Being Patient

Patience leaves us calm and relaxed. It helps to reduce stress in otherwise trying situations. Learn how to be more patient and you’ll find the strength you need to better cope with everyday challenges.

How to be more patient practicing patience
We’ll show you how to be patient and how to practice self-composure despite a hectic daily work-life schedule. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Ricardo Velarde)

Impatience drains our energy. Here are some common cases:

  • We let ourselves get upset about things that we can’t change in the moment at hand. These can be long restaurant lines on your already short lunch break, inconvenient train delays or your best friends who simply take too long to text back.
  • So say your train’s late. Impatience starts to set in and we anxiously glance up at the clock every 30 seconds. We start to feel that inner frustration bubble up inside, solemnly directed at those around us. Finally, we arrive home exhausted and in a bad mood.
  • Impatience also gets in the way when dealing with more complex problems – some projects simply need some time to develop.
  • Impatient people put themselves under pressure to perform and are often more stressed out. This has a negative effect on their mood and overall quality of life. They also tend to give up more quickly.

Even if you don’t see yourself as a particularly impatient person, we could probably all use a quick refresher on how to be more patient.

How to Be Patient: 5 Lessons

Prime examples of how widespread impatience is in our modern-day society are so-called “crash diets”. These promise to help you lose as much weight as possible in the shortest amount of time. Such diets can only prove successful if you’re prepared to endure extreme limitation and sacrifice throughout. But is it worth it?

Weight loss regimens such as these are neither healthy nor sustainable and have a negative effect on your overall quality of life. It would make more sense to set long term goals such as adopting healthier eating habits, incorporating more exercise into your daily routine and listening to your body.

But fulfilling long-term goals requires (learning) patience. In the long run, learning how to be patient in everyday life will only help you down the road.

Utopia’s tip: Self-Improvement: Why We All Need a Break from Self-Optimization

1. Take Note of What Makes You Impatient

How to be more patient practice how to learn patience know yourself
Part of learning how to be more patient is getting to know yourself. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Max Wolfs)

World famous martial artist and cultural icon Bruce Lee once said “patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is concentrated strength.” This quote highlights the role of awareness in practicing patience. Only when we consciously perceive situations in which we become impatient can we actively do something about it and learn how to be more patient.

One first step to learning how to be patient is to think about the factors that trigger or reinforce impatience. Are you hungry or thirsty? Are you tired? Were you hurt or offended by a particular statement or experience you had today? In other words: You first begin to learn patience by understanding how you react to specific situations.

Tip: We can miss a lot amidst the hectic pace of our daily routines. But if you pause for just a few minutes, you’ll already notice that you become more calm and centered. Meditation and breathing exercises in particular can help you focus on yourself and perceive feelings and thoughts.

You can find more inspiration in Utopia’s own guides on “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Living in the Present” and “Self Care: Learning How to Take Care of Yourself“.

2. What Consequences Can Your Impatience Have?

How to be more patient how to learn patience
One step towards learning how to be patient is recognizing impatience. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Stocksnap)

Imagine you’re sitting in your car stuck at a red light. You start to grow impatient because you know you’re going to be late for an important appointment. Become aware of the rising impatience. Now try to imagine the turn of events that follow once you let impatience bubble over:

Your frustration is building by the second. Every additional red light you hit only makes it worse. This acute frustration starts to have a negative effect on your driving. You begin to perceive less and grow careless. And once you actually arrive at your destination, you’re not only late, but also stressed, angry and in an all-around bad mood.

So remember that no matter the situation, impatience won’t get you anywhere. In fact, it’s much more likely to prevent you from achieving your goals. With a little patience, you can master situations better and in the end you will be calm, balanced and relaxed.

3. How to be More Patient: Practice Makes Perfect

How to be more patient how to learn patience practice makes perfect
Practice makes perfect. Use the waiting time you have to practice patience on a daily basis. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - JESHOOTScom)

We often become impatient because we believe that we are wasting valuable time in a particular situation. Think about waiting in line at the supermarket, for example. While waiting, we think about what we could be doing in that particular moment only if we weren’t stuck in line.

Whether you decide to let waiting feel like a waste of your valuable time is entirely up to you. Instead, you can also use time spent waiting for something better.

Here’s how to learn patience: Take a few deep breaths. Maybe close your eyes for a moment and distance yourself from the hectic pace of everyday life.

Take a moment and think about what parts of your day made you especially happy or what aspects of your life you’re particularly grateful for in the particular moment. These moments of mindfulness allow you to consciously recall positive moments – often we only remember negative situations.

Think good thoughts and you’ll automatically start to feel calmer and more relaxed. So you will not only have bridged the wait, but have also put your own mind at ease. You’ll arrive at home in the evening a little more relaxed and satisfied.

Looking for other productive ways to (patiently) pass the time? Use longer waiting times to read a good book, learn vocabulary or collect and write down ideas for projects. Part of learning how to be patient is learning how to prepare. Always keep a small book or notebook at the ready so you have a way to pass the time wisely.

Utopia’s tip: Still wondering how to be more patient? Try a digital detox and learn to use your downtime wisely – that is, tech-free!

4. How to Learn Patience: Set Goals

How to be more patient set goals
Set yourself some realistic goals to help you stay on track. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Bru No)

Especially when it comes to long-term projects is when we often lose track of the big picture. Then we become impatient. We question our abilities and consider throwing in the towel right then and there. We’re not only faced with such challenges at work – maybe you’re studying for an exam, want to learn an instrument or are on track towards gaining or losing weight.

Here’s how to be more patient in these situations: In order to avoid this type of stress, think small-picture. Split your project up into smaller goals so you have a better idea of what you’ve accomplished over a certain period of time. Be sure to formulate realistic goals that you can achieve in a shorter period of time (in less than one to two weeks time).

Don’t be afraid to tally up your wins here and there every time you reach one of your intermediate goals. This way you’ll enjoy a small feeling of success and be motivated to work towards your next objective.

5. Be Patient: How to Deal With Setbacks

how to be more patient learn patiences accept and deal with setbacks
One key step towards learning how to be more patient is learning how to deal with setbacks. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Matias Malka)

We all experience minor setbacks. Some are brought about by events or conditions we have no control over. Therefore, it’s always good to mentally plan for delays so you’re not caught completely flat-footed when they happen.

Wether trying to learn patience or planning a work project: try not to see setbacks as a personal defeat. Instead, think about the positives you can take from them. Setbacks can help you gain valuable experience and insight, which helps you to develop as person and emerge stronger.

For example, receiving negative feedback on your project gives you the opportunity to review and improve on your own concept. In the end, you might end up doing a much better job on it than you expected.

Also, remember to keep in mind what you’ve already accomplished along the way. Then the setbacks might not seem so all too dramatic anymore – and it becomes easier to be patient.

This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Geduld üben: Tipps für mehr Gelassenheit

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