“Patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is concentrated strength.”
-Bruce Lee

How hard or easy is it to have patience?

For me personally, it’s one of the most difficult acts to do. Whether it’s waiting for a package delivery or sitting at the airport, I always find myself getting antsy, especially if things get delayed.

I’ve written about this topic before on a handful of occasions. I feel it deserves to be revisited once again because never has it been more timely than the last year and a half.

During the said time, we’ve all found our levels of patience being tested more than ever for a number of reasons.

Firstly, one thing the whole world has been antsy about is the desire of normalcy.

Since late 2019,  we’ve all had to combat COVID-19 in various ways. All the while, one thought has been playing in our minds like a broken record: when we things be normal again?

And let’s not forget the entire mess of the last presidential election. Plagued with controversies, the events January 6, constant debates about veracity of voting systems, etc all fried our brains no matter which side we were on politically.

Regardless of who anyone voted for, everyone had to wait longer than usual for a clear definitive winner. (Some argue about it even till today but that’s another topic for another day).

With all that in mind, allow me to collect all the tips I shared in my previous articles about being patient and present them cumulatively here:

Before we get to any exercises, it’s worth pointing out how being patient benefits us.

According to a study published in the Psychological Science journal, when we’re patient, the end result always seems more gratifying. The more we wait for something (or someone) the less granted we take it and begin to value it more.

Now of course that doesn’t eliminate the unpleasant process of waiting. Telling someone that if they climb Mount Everest, they’ll have a huge feeling of accomplishment won’t make the actual climb any easier.

But perhaps it makes us feel that the journey of getting there is worth it, no matter how arduous.

In that study, most participants, even in the midst of irritation and frustration, had increased levels of mindfulness and were reportedly a but more calm the next time.

According to Ye Li, an assistant professor at the University of California who conducted a portion of the study said exercises in patience are advantageous for self-control in many areas including, diet, sleep, smoking and mental health.

Clearly, the virtues of patience are worth imbibing.

But how do we get to that point of even thinking that way?

The following tips are taken from an article in Huffington Post as well as from my personal counselor for depression.

  • Physically write down what you’re waiting for the most. Apparently, putting something on paper can take it out of our minds, at least temporarily.
  • Focus your thoughts on the aftermath. What will you do once the wait is over? What will be the fruition of waiting? If you’re waiting for a flight, think about your plans after reaching your destination. If you’re waiting for a delivery, imagine how you’ll use whatever is being delivered.
  • Delay things which you can afford to delay. Have a favorite TV show? DVR it and start watching it ten minutes late. Eager to listen to a podcast? Put it on a “play later” playlist for just a bit. According to psychologists, steps like this can increase your tolerance of waiting for something if done sporadically.
  • Remind yourself that impatience is uncomfortable, not intolerable and become comfortable with the uncomfortable. In the article referenced above, family therapist Dr. Jane Bolten spoke of a friend who repeatedly told himself, “This is merely uncomfortable, not intolerable.” Saying so helped him break a nasty habit.

Are you a patient person or impatient? If the latter, do you have tips of your own to combat impatience? Do you agree with the points made in this article? Why or why not? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

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Hi, I'm Neel! I'm a writer (fiction and poetry), a journalist and currently working in the advertising business. I'm also a mental health advocate, having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago.
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