Someone once said patience is a virtue. When it comes to dealing with others or even practicing self-compassion, being patient is a big part of the process. The alternative to patience is anger or frustration, both of which increase anxiety levels and might make it harder to feel good and make positive choices. How to practice patience, though?

What is Patience?

Let’s start with a basic definition, so everyone is on the same page. Patience means the ability to tolerate or accept things like a delay without getting angry or letting it upset you. If you are impatient, you feel stressed out or get mad at the littlest things. For instance, maybe there is a hold up in the cashier line at the grocery store. You’re not in a hurry; you just don’t have the patience to wait.

How to Practice Patience?

People are not born patient. Some people may be naturally more patient than others, but, for the most part, it is a skill you must cultivate. Babies rarely like waiting for a bottle, for instance. Yet, they learn later in life to sit at the table and wait for the food to come.

How can you practice patience, so you can learn it?

Learn to Understand Impatience?

Jane Bolton Psy.D., M.F.T. calls being impatient an addiction. You learn to like being angry and irritated. You expect it and feel satisfied when you’re right.

When asking how to practice patience, the first step is to recognize impatience for what it is — a natural reaction and one that feels normal. Dr. Bolton explains that the emotions that come with impatience are part of survival instinct. When you start seeing it as addictive behavior, you can find ways to avoid it or make a correction if you feel it coming.

Write It Out

Negative emotions tend to disappear once you write them down on paper. It’s a way of decluttering your brain. Journaling your feelings also gives you an outlet to vent. You can use the journal to recognize triggers that make you impatient and create solutions. The more you know about your impatience, the easier it will be to understand and control it.

Expose Yourself to Triggers

Patience is a muscle you have to exercise, so create situations that bug you and force yourself to sit and be patient. Drive home at a time when you know there will be traffic, for example. Instead of getting upset, turn up the radio and enjoy some alone time in your car.

You can also make yourself go to the store when it is usually busy. As you wait in line, pick up a magazine and thumb through it. Start a conversation with the person in front of you or go on social media and catch up with friends.

Practice Mindfulness

When you feel the impatience coming on, force yourself to listen to your breath. As you start to calm down, look around, and assess the situation. How long have you be waiting? What is going on around you? How does your body feel as you wait or as you listen to someone talk? Think of ways to relax it like tightening muscles one at a time.

If your efforts are not working, then therapy might be the next step. Westwood Recovery in California has 15 locations. They offer inpatient and outpatient programs, along with innovative treatment options like the adventure therapy program.

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If you are asking yourself how to practice patience and not finding a solution, give us a call today at 855.340.8832.