Most of us have experienced moments of feeling as though we’re going to burst from our lack of patience. Perhaps you’re anxious when someone takes longer than you’d prefer while telling a story, or maybe you’re frustrated that a certain life event hasn’t occurred as soon as you’d hoped. As a result of such impatience, you’re probably a bundle of nerves—often angry, easily agitated, and unable to live happily in the moment. It’s time to change that; here’s how you can become a more patient person.
1. Eat slowly
Although this sounds more like weight loss advice, experts maintain that it’s also a good technique for acquiring more patience. Training yourself to eat slower and savor every moment at the table teaches you to do the same in life situations. By taking your time while engaging in something you do often—eating—you’ll come to associate a slower pace with an enjoyable experience, and therefore be less inclined to thrive on impulsive behaviors linked to impatience.
2. Assess situations and people more fairly
Rather than jump to conclusions that can lead to intense arguments or destroy relationships, take a step back, pause, and fully assess the big picture when you feel impatience kicking in. Instead of reacting immediately, think about other possibilities that could be causing people to act as they do, or alternative explanations for your own feelings. Chances are, you’ll find that more deliberate thought helps you develop the patience to understand others—and yourself—much better.
3. Expect positive outcomes
Sometimes, an impatient personality stems from trying to keep negative outcomes at bay as soon as possible. The thought may be that if you act immediately, unfortunate consequences may not develop down the road. However, by training yourself to expect positive outcomes, you may develop more patience. Focus not on what may go wrong, but consider that what someone is trying to convey might yield exciting opportunities. In turn, you may find yourself more inclined to listen and be comfortable with waiting longer. Yes, good things can come to those who wait!
Understanding yourself on a deeper level is essential when it comes to developing patience. Meditation can help you feel at ease with silence and improve your ability to enjoy the stillness. In turn, you may find yourself experiencing thoughts that could shed light on why you often feel impatient. In this silence, explore these thoughts and feelings, then apply what you learn when interacting with others.
5. Consider others’ feelings
While you may sometimes be itching to tell someone to “get to the point” or inwardly roll your eyes at their longwinded story, consider their feelings. Just like you have a distinctive story-telling style, they too, have a certain way of talking. Finishing sentences for them or suddenly cutting them off with a joke about how detailed they are can make them feel uneasy in your presence as if they can’t fully be themselves. You don’t want to inhibit others in this way, so why make them feel anxious when speaking? Take the time to explore how others could feel as a result of your impatience, and make an effort to react less and listen more.
Taking in different cultures is a great way to learn that everyone does things differently, and yes, that includes not necessarily acting in an impatient manner. For example, you’ll learn that many cultures frown on cutting to the chase and diving into business matters immediately; instead, they may prefer taking hours or even days of engaging in getting-to-know-you socializing before whipping out presentations and talking about the bottom line. Other cultures linger over appetizers and drinks before even thinking about ordering the main meal. All around the world are people who live a calm life with the common thread of patients driving their social interactions and own happiness.
If you can travel the world, great. Not everyone can, of course, so consider other alternatives. Take courses to learn about other cultures or attend cultural events that closely mimic—and encourage you to get involved in—that particular area’s way of life.
7. Laugh more
Many times, laughing at yourself is a way to acknowledge your own shortcomings while also enabling yourself to better manage them. The next time you feel impatient when interacting with others or when wondering about a life event that has yet to come your way, find some humor in the situation. Doing so can help relieve anxieties related to your impatient feelings and make you realize that you need to have an immediate resolution isn’t always as serious or necessary as you think.
8. Talk to friends about your impatience
If you really want to get to the bottom of your impatience and are comfortable talking about it, then why not ask close friends about your habit? They’ll likely tell it like it is, pinpointing specific situations that tend to press your impatience buttons. Sometimes hearing about your behaviors from others can help you hone in on and improve upon the areas regarding which you’re most impatient—especially if more than a few people end up saying similar things.
Also Read: Chakras 101: How to Find Balance