“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
In the fast world we live in today, it’s never been more difficult to be patient all the time. We got so used to instant information and constant entertainment, same-day deliveries, and quick solutions that most of us have lost the idea of what it means to simply wait patiently, yet practicing patience can transform your career and personal life. That’s why today we talk about patience, its benefits, and how it can help you achieve your goals in life.
What Is Patience?
Patience is our personal capacity to tolerate an unpleasant state. Whether it’s a delay of an important meeting or flight, or a form of suffering, patience is what makes us resilient. Psychologists call this frustration tolerance.
Although it’s a matter of individual differences, patience is something we can learn. Also, depending on our personal traits, patience can have a somewhat different meaning for each and every one of us. For example, some people may find it difficult to be patient with their food, while others can’t tolerate boredom or stand anxiety.
The Benefits of Being Patient
There are many reasons why patience is considered a virtue. The most patient man in history, the famous Mahatma Gandhi, used to say: “To lose patience is to lose the battle.”
Sometimes, how we cope with the situation is more important than the end result of that situation. So, the first benefit of patience is that it is highly rewarding.
With that in mind, here are some of the most prominent benefits of patience:
1. It helps us stay focused on our long term goals because patience helps us think in advance, instead of depend on short-term gratification;
2. It makes us more accountable and persistent, which can be particularly important in finishing what we have started;
3. It gives us balance and peace, as patience requires calm and mindfulness, while impatience only produces anxiety and discomfort;
4. Patience sets us up for making more genuine, well considered, and thought through choices because it opens the door for calmer thinking.
5. Finally, the ability to be patient makes us mentally and physically healthier. Patience keeps us calm in stressful situations, which consequently makes us mentally healthier because we stop worrying so much and this also has a positive impact on our physical health.
Patience and Mindfulness: Twins or Just Siblings?
In our articles, we often mention the concept of mindfulness: the conscious living in the present moment. When you think about it, patience is somewhat similar. These two concepts are interconnected because mindfulness plays an important role in being patient, but also we can’t be mindful if we’re not patient.
This intertwined relationship between patience and mindfulness says a lot about the role of patience in our lives. It’s hard to stay calm, tolerant, and tranquill if we’re not fully present and self-aware.
Discomfort, challenges, and difficulties are an integral part of life, and learning how to embrace and overcome them with calmness and patience will only increase our quality of life.
Of course, it’s easier to be patient about certain things than it is about others. Waiting in line or being stuck in traffic carries far less anxiety than searching for a new job or waiting for a health recovery to be over.
That’s where mindfulness practice jumps in. Regular meditation, breathing exercises, and a mindful approach to life help us explore our being and learn how to keep ourselves stoic.
Simple Tips to Improve Patience
Patience is a virtue that relies on the ability to tolerate frustrations. As grown-ups, some of us turn out to be better at this skill, while others have more trouble remaining calm in the face of adversity, stress, or discomfort.
Luckily, there are many opportunities to learn how to be more patient. Patience is the way for our dreams to come true because no important goal can be achieved overnight. Here are a couple of tips on what to do to work out your patience muscle.
Focus on Your Breathing
Breathing slows down the nervous system, so whenever you’re faced with a stressful fight-or-flight situation that agitates you, try taking a couple of deep breaths to calm down. As you calm down, you’ll notice how you’re getting more and more centered and focused on yourself in the present moment.
Did you know that waiting makes us happier than instant gratification? At least this 2014 study published in Psychological Science says so. Whenever there’s something big ahead of you that you want to jump into right away, take small steps, gather your energy, and then move forward.
When we’re faced with challenges or obstacles, as humans, we are prone to react with resistance. We adapt to things easily and find it difficult to embrace change in our lives. However, resisting change can throw us off even more and hamper our mood and motivation.
On the other hand, if we accept that change is constant, no matter how unexpected, it will be much easier to remain calm and patient in the face of it, because we know it can bring new opportunities.
Know Your Triggers
As we said above, we all have our own triggers for impatience. Do the inner work, practice self-awareness, and analyze what situations provoke you the most and keep that in mind the next time you’re faced with your trigger.
Just like breathing, the practice of meditation helps us keep our nervous system calm. This is the basis for being patient and staying calm in the face of adversity. You can use your meditation sessions to focus on your goals, explore your mind, needs, and emotions, and prepare for waiting for your dreams to come true.
In the accelerated world we live in, time has gained a completely new meaning because we get so much more done in the same unit of time than ever before. However, this ability came with a cost, and part of it is the fact that we’ve lost the virtue of patience. But with a little bit of practice and a change in mindset, you too can succeed at training your patience.
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