When I was growing up I was incredibly impatient. Minutes seemed like hours and hours like years. Into my teens and early twenties I shunned patience in favor of instant gratification. Therapy forced me to be patient; patient with unraveling the years of trauma that had accumulated and patient with my recovery.
In this series I will explore what patience really is, how it can benefit us and reveal ten ways to foster more patience, some which I plan to do as a result of the research I conducted for this article and others which have been highly successful in my cultivating more patience thus far.
The intimate relationship between patience and anger
Naturally, when we lose patience we get angry, which inevitably affects our relationships and all round quality of life. To avoid getting to the stage where you become irritable and even angry as a result of impatience, stay tuned, as later in the series we will be covering how to actively cultivate more patience.
Interestingly however, no matter what the cause of our anger, cultivating patience when we are experiencing anger has a drastically positive effect on our relationships and emotional well being.
Practicing patience when angry…
This approach is easier said than done and I cannot deny that I have fallen short of achieving this level of control at times. There are times when I’ve acted in anger, times when I have made the situation worse by saying hurtful things.. however these days I tend to say sorry and correct myself quicker, having said this it is a process and I still have a long way to go.
I am trying to use this approach to experiencing anger more now and it is by far the healthiest approach, nevertheless it is very hard to do. This practice is a perfect way to cultivate more patience whilst also diffusing conflict and emotional upset, combining both mindfulness and anger management techniques.
Try sitting with your anger and challenging yourself not to take action. Be mindful and accept that you are angry, sit with this uncomfortable emotion, experiencing it entirely without resistance. Take five minutes to practice deep breathing while you do this.
Rather than using your energy to lash out (causing more conflict and anger) or create a harmful story about how this situation came into being and whose fault it is, use your energy to evaluate what hurt is behind your anger.
Then find a constructive way to release your anger by punching a pillow, the air or even going for a run or walk.
Then, once you have released anger in a healthy, physical way, try to think of workable compromises and solutions that would heal the situation both practically and emotionally for all those involved. Then find ways to assertively express yourself in an empathetic, compassionate way, actively listening and looking for a mutually agreeable solution.
Once an agreeable solution has been reached and the situation has subsided, honestly evaluate if you are still harboring any anger or resentment, as if you are I would strongly encourage you to forgive whoever is involved – including yourself – in order to release yourself from unnecessary pain.
If you would like to look at the benefits of forgiveness and how to forgive effectively, please read my article titled ‘How to liberate yourself by overcoming the 3 blocks to forgiveness’.
Symptoms of impatience
Just in case you were wondering, the signs and symptoms of impatience to notice in yourself are:
- Shallow breathing
- Tense muscles
- Irritability or anger
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Quick / snap decision making
Source: MindTools ‘How to be patient’ by MindTools Editorial Team
Finding your triggers
It’s important to really take the time to assess what triggers an impatient episode in you. For me it is invariably my perfectionism as I have at times held myself and others to unrealistic expectations.
Sometimes your triggers may not be as obvious and you might need to work harder to uncover them. If you are having difficulty, simply carry a small notepad and pen, listing when you become impatient and why for two weeks. Record how impatient you are on a scale of one to ten, with ten being extremely impatient. After two weeks you should have a good enough record to identify some patterns, or, even better, realize that you aren’t as impatient as you thought you were.
Stay tuned – next week we take a look at the psychological impact of losing patience and its consequences.
‘Patience: The Art Of Peaceful Living’ By Allan Lokos
Do you consider yourself a patient person? When was the last time you lost your patience and why? Can you identify any of your triggers to losing patience? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.