It seems everyone is in a hurry these days. We expect things to happen quickly and have the best outcome possible in every situation. It has become very difficult to practice patience.
Patience is the ability to accept or tolerate delays or extra necessary effort without getting annoyed or upset. And with technology putting the world at our fingertips, practicing patience is challenging. Being patient as an adult is hard, it’s even more difficult for children.
Different people lose their patience in different circumstances. Usually it’s when things aren’t going the way we planned or when people don’t do as we expect. Sometimes it’s when you’re trying to learn something new.
You probably already know when you are starting to feel impatient because:
- You become more tense, you may clench your hands
- Your breathing becomes fast or shallow
- You might feel warm as you become more stressed
- You may become irritable or angry
- You feel anxious
How do you learn to practice patience?
The first step is to notice when you start to feel impatient. Is it while waiting in line at the grocery store? Or is it when your child isn’t moving as quickly as you would like in the morning?
- When you notice yourself getting losing your patience, take a deep breath and slow down.
- Accept that things aren’t going according to your plan. You can’t be in control all of the time.
- Be mindful of those around you (especially if you’re in line or in your car).
- Find something to take your mind away like changing the radio station in your car. You can carry a pebble or worry stone to rub when you’re feeling anxious.
- Give a warning and ask for help. “I’m really beginning to lose my patience, could you tell me what I need to do to move things along?”
Practicing patience will help your child develop more patience as well.
- Try letting someone get in line ahead of you (delaying your turn), it’s a great way to show patience to a child and allow yourself to experience a random act of kindness.
- Don’t check the phone every time you get a notification – the notifications will still be there 5, 10 even 15 minutes later.
- Try to find the humor in situations, you don’t have to be serious all the time.
- Tell yourself it’s okay for things to feel out of control or broken. Traffic jams, lack of staff and many other things that cause delays are very clearly out of your control.
Being patient isn’t easy. In a world where Amazon delivers tomorrow and McDonald’s has it out the window in under 60 seconds (most of the time) everyone seems to think things should be easy and hassle free. In reality, life in general is never easy or hassle free. By practicing patient you’ll be better able to cope when the situation calls for patience.