Three ways to learn to be patient
As we all know, life goes fast, and if you snooze you lose. We rush to check our social media because we posted a photo an hour ago and we can’t wait to see the reaction. We send an email and get frustrated if we don’t have a response on our own timeframe. We order a product on-line and expect it at our door next day.
What we could use is a little patience. Last week’s blog introduced patience as this month’s topic. Missed it? You can read it here.
Learning the skill of patience allows you to live with less stress, anxiety and frustration. It gives you the ability to not be troubled by the changes that are so often sprung upon us. When we are eager to move forward and life isn’t ready yet, it gives us breathing room.
More than that, it gives you reaction time – that magical space between action and reaction.
Here are three sure-fire ways to help you strengthen your patience muscle
1. Let go of what’s outside your control. Frustrated because your teenager’s room is a pigsty? Is that really your problem if you don’t actually reside in that room? Close the door so you don’t see it. By giving permission to your child to be a slob, you’re teaching them the consequences of choosing disarray. No clean clothes? Ah, too bad – if they had been put in the hamper they wouldn’t be dirty.
Bottom line, you can’t control anyone else or outcomes, but you can control your response. By being patient with what’s outside your control, you give others permission to grow into who they really are while simultaneously lowering your blood pressure.
2. Meditate, or find an equivalent. Find a way to develop the ability to maintain stillness in the midst of the chaos and disappointment. When your mind is quiet, you are less reactionary. It strengthens your self-control and grace.
If you are new to meditation, there are many excellent training formats available to you. My go to is Headspace.com where the first series of ten 10-minute sessions is free. Focusing activities such as knitting or crochet, where you count the stitches, or doing a crossword puzzle can help allow the world to drop away. Even focused walking is a type of meditation.
3. Practice self-awareness. When you’re in a frustrating situation, how do you react? Where do you feel it in your body? Do a check in several times a day and note your emotions and state of mind. Your awareness will help you maintain your calm.
Here’s an exercise to practice self-awareness. Focus your attention on your feet and feel them solidly on the ground. Then starting from your feet, run a mental scan up your body noting what you are feeling. Spend a few minutes doing this every day and you’ll notice the stress more quickly. That’s a signal to you that it’s time to be patient.
I would love to hear your stories of patience and what you learned. Please comment below!