They say that patience is a virtue. At the same time, this mysterious “they” says that you can lose patience as if it is something tangible that you can hold onto and misplace. In order to figure out how to be more patient in life, it may help to define patience.
Patience (noun) –(from thefreedictionary.com)
Well, it’s definitely not tangible. It is an ability or skill, and as such can be developed and improved. On the other hand, when not practiced regularly, it can apathy and you will be quicker to anger and frustration.
I have found that ignoring the feelings and emotions of anger, frustration and annoyance does not help. We are emotional beings and we are going to experience feelings. We do get to choose how we react to these feelings, however. We can either dwell on the emotion and feed it even more, or we can acknowledge it and replace it with a healthier emotion for the given situation.
This is not a simple task and is going to require a lot of work on your part, but if you have accepted that only you are able create more patience in your life and it is something that you truly desire, the necessary work will be well rewarded.
What Triggers Your Impatience?
It is time to begin identifying situations in which you become impatient. I find the act of writing out the situation in very descriptive detail to be very helpful. It takes more time and effort than to simply just contemplate and helps to develop patience at the same time. In fact, the act of recording this information into a patience journal may be a trigger that you write about.
One of the most common triggers for impatience is waiting. It can be very frustrating to wait for your friend to pick you up…especially when they are always late! Write about this experience beginning with the initial plan setting for them to pick you up. Try to be as detailed as possible in describing the feelings you were experiencing during this situation. Were you excited for the event you were going to or apprehensive? When the time came to be picked up and they weren’t there yet, what did you do? How did you feel when they did finally arrive? How did these feelings affect you at the event you went to?
Learn from the Past to Create a Better Future
This what we are doing when we are working in our patience journal. I’d like to point out that this work is being done in the present. This is such an obvious truth that we often take it for granted. I bring it up to contrast this activity to what we normally do when we think about the past and future.
When we look back at the past we often are coming up with could have, would have, should haves. These scenarios make us angry or embarrassed about the actual events that occurred. When we look at the future we are typically imagining catastrophic outcomes that cause anxiety. This happens because we aren’t focused on learning from the past or creating our future.
When we are journaling, this is our objective. Our goal in looking at the past is to just inventory the facts of the situation. Another obvious fact that we don’t consciously acknowledge very often is the fact that we cannot change the past. When we mull over all of the should haves, we get stuck there. It does nothing to affect the past. It does however make us feel worse in the present moment and keeps us from creating a better future.
When we look at just the facts, we are able to accept it for what it was. We may not desire it to happen again and that is something that we do have a lot of control over. We don’t have control over the length of the line at the grocery store, but we can control when we go and how we react when we encounter a long line.
Instead of looking for the should haves of the past, it is time to look for the will dos of the future. Still working with our journal, we are going to write out how we will better handle this situation the next time it arises. With the same amount of detail, write out the future scenario and the thoughts and feelings you will experience.
If the situation involved dealing with a rude customer, what will you do differently? What does it feel like to treat that person with compassion as opposed to anger? Remember, you cannot control what they say or do. You can only choose what you do and you have made the decision that you want to make healthier choices, so write out what that healthier choice looks like – only including things that are in your control.
Other Helpful Actions
The main focus of this article was journaling, but there are other things that you can do to increase your patience. Meditation, mindfulness and visualization are very powerful tools. They will greatly help your overall health which includes your ability to be patient in trying situations.
There are essential oils that help to induce a state of calm. Geranium, lavender, palma rosa, and bergamot are among my favorites. If you have no experience with essential oils, I recommend beginning with this lavender from Rocky Mountain Oils:
Diet and exercise also have a major impact on our mental and emotional health. Eat as many whole foods as possible and avoid processed whenever you can.
I hope you found this article helpful and I would love to hear about what you have done to bring more patience into your own life. Please leave them in the comments below.