Who Else Wants Fewer Doctor Appointments?

Visiting the doctor is rarely fun, and it’s becoming more difficult these days. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of about 30,000 primary-care physicians by 2025.

It may take more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away, but a healthy diet and other simple lifestyle changes can keep you out of the waiting room. Learn how to develop habits that will keep you fit and strong.

Dietary Changes

Many experts blame the Standard American Diet (SAD) for high rates of obesity, diabetes, depression, and other serious conditions. Good nutrition can strengthen your immune system and lower your risk for many illnesses.

1. Eat more produce. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense and light in calories. They’ll boost your immune system and help you stay hydrated. Plus, all that fiber can lower your risk of diabetes.

2. Focus on whole foods. Processed foods are usually loaded with excessive fat, sugar, and salt. Try eating foods in their natural state.

3. Limit alcohol. Too many cocktails can damage your liver and other organs. Most experts recommend up to one drink a day for women and two for men.

4. Manage your weight. Carrying around too many pounds increases your risk of heart conditions, arthritis, and certain cancers. Stay slim by watching calories and leading an active life.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Here are a few more changes to go along with your balanced diet. They’ll have a major impact on your body and mind.

1. Move around. Physical activity strengthens your heart and muscles. Aim to exercise at least 3 days a week. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

2. Sit less. Research suggests that the longer you sit, the poorer your health may be even if you exercise. If you have a desk job, try taking walking breaks every half hour. Cut back on your TV time.

3. Do yoga. While any form of exercise and relaxation can be beneficial, yoga seems especially powerful. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital recorded a whopping 43 percent reduction in healthcare use among patients who studied yoga for a year.

4. Deal with stress. If yoga is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to keep tension from piling up. Book a massage or listen to gentle music.

5. Be happy. The more you’re satisfied with your life, the less you’ll need your doctor. On a scale of 1 to 6, a patient could expect an 11 percent decrease in doctor visits for each level of higher life satisfaction, according to one University of Michigan study.

6. Adopt a pet. Holding your cat is good for mental and physical wellbeing. The CDC says pets help people lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. They also provide an antidote to loneliness.

7. Connect with others. Speaking of loneliness, support from humans helps too. Close social ties can help you catch fewer colds, and may even extend your life.

8. Sleep well. Adequate rest and sleep is vital to healing. Turn off the computer and TV in the evening and go to bed on time.

9. Quit smoking. Giving up tobacco may be the most important thing you can do for your health. It takes an average of 5 to 10 attempts to quit for good, so hang in there.

It’s important to have a good relationship with your health care team and follow their recommendations when you’re sick or injured. However, you and your doctor can enjoy spending more time apart as long as you’re making decisions that increase your wellbeing.

Which Would You Rather Have – Perfection or Success?

Some people take pride in their drive to be perfect. But perfectionism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Perfectionism wastes time, creates stress, and stands in the way of success. Doing a good job isn’t the same as seeking perfection. Ideally, any task is completed at a level that ensures success. That level is well below the level of perfection.

Avoid perfection and accomplish more:

1. Perfection isn’t possible. Nothing has ever been perfect in the literal sense of the world. You might as well go looking for a unicorn.

2. Perfection is a waste of time. Perfection requires a lot of time and effort – more time and effort than the end result is worth. You’re not allocating your primary resources intelligently if you’re trying to be perfect.

3. You get less done. When you try to be perfect, you cut yourself short of enough time to get everything done. Your boss needs her report. She doesn’t need something to submit to the Smithsonian to preserve for future generations. You can’t get your work done if you’re focused on perfection.

4. The need to be perfect is a sign of insecurity. The drive for perfection is an attempt to compensate for a perceived lack of adequacy. When you believe you aren’t good enough as you are, it’s common to believe that doing everything perfectly will prove that you are capable and adequate. That’s a heavy burden to carry through life.

5. The need for perfection leads to procrastination. It can be tough to even take the first step if you believe that the outcome must be perfect.

6. Perfection is unhealthy. Perfectionists are more prone to heart disease, anxiety, and mental health issues. The quest for perfection causes stress. Stress is damaging to the body and mind.

7. You can’t work well with others if you need to be perfect. People have little patience for perfectionists. Everyone else wants to get things done and get on with their lives. You can accomplish much more with the help of others.

8. Perfection leads to frustration. There’s only one way to be perfect and thousands of ways to be anything less than perfect. You give yourself thousands of ways to be unhappy and only one way to feel content. Those are poor odds.

9. Perfection is an enemy of success. Perfection is the desire to avoid failure. Success often includes failures along the way. Perfection and success aren’t compatible.

10. Perfection leads to unreasonable expectations. Does it really matter if you get a 96 on your biology exam instead of a perfect grade? Those last 4 points are nearly impossible to capture. It can’t be done reliably. And the difference in your results isn’t meaningful.

11. Perfection is rooted in anger. Perfectionists feel contempt for anything less than perfection. This isn’t healthy. It also makes you unpleasant to be around. No one will ever meet your standards and your anger towards them isn’t appreciated.

12. Perfection and happiness are at odds. Happy people don’t feel the need to be perfect. And people that are driven to be perfect are too consumed to experience happiness. Do you know a perfectionist that you would describe as happy?

The need to be perfect is best avoided. Perfectionism requires a tremendous amount of time and gets in the way of happiness and success. Ask yourself why you feel the need to do things perfectly. Perform tasks to a level that results in success. Going beyond that point is foolish and unnecessary.

What’s Your Organizing Style?

How come your home and office are still cluttered when you’ve spent months reading self-help books and buying snazzy containers? Maybe what you need are suggestions that match your personality.

See how you match up with these 4 typical housekeeping scenarios. Knowing your style will help you create a system that works for you.

Keeping Stuff on View

You probably pin your dry cleaning slips to the wall over your desk so you’ll remember to pick up your shirts. Where others see messy piles, you see strategic triggers that keep you on top of your responsibilities.

1. Straighten up. If putting things away seems stressful, focus on making your space look neat. Fold your clothes or hang them in the same direction. Arrange items on shelves instead of the floor.

2. Use see-through containers. Clear boxes will let you spot your gloves or kitchen utensils instantly while holding small items in one place. You’ll even be able to find your summer or winter clothing as soon as the weather changes.

3. Find alternatives. There are other ways to prompt your memory besides keeping broken appliances in the back seat of your car. Use computer pop-ups and calendars or write out an old-fashioned list of tasks.

Keeping Stuff Out of Sight

You believe that a tidy environment contributes to your peace of mind. You’re the type who cleans off your desk each evening before going home.

1. Design a system. Your pristine surroundings may look organized, but there could be chaos behind the scenes. There’s a difference between storing things in logical places and throwing them in a junk drawer.

2. Blend in. You might prefer storage solutions that look good. Consider hollow ottomans and vintage chests.

3. Review frequently. It’s easy to forget about what’s accumulating in the garage or attic. Label and date boxes for future disposal.

Keeping Lots of Stuff

Whether you’re sentimental or frugal, you prize your possessions, even if you’re not sure where you put them. You’re likely to still have your first teddy bear and an assortment of hardware left over from years of home improvement projects.

1. Reduce consumption. If you have trouble letting go, you may want to cut off the supply at the source. Buy only what you need. Take a walk when you’re tempted to shop online.

2. Weigh costs. In addition to the original price tag, most goods require time and money to maintain. Imagine what you could do with those extra hours and dollars.

3. Reach out. If you’re struggling to cut back, ask a loved one or a professional counselor for help. Assistance with emotional issues or practical techniques could provide the breakthrough you’re hoping for.

Keeping Minimal Stuff

Your priorities are clear. You value experiences more than material things. You’d rather climb mountains than sort laundry.

1. Keep it simple. There’s no need to bog yourself down with complicated procedures if you’ve already streamlined your life. Taking care of your valuables and putting them back in their place may be all you require.

2. Accommodate others. On the other hand, your spouse or other members of your household may have different habits. Be tolerant if your loved ones think their high school book reports might come in handy someday. Ask before you donate their old sports equipment to charity drives.

3. Enjoy your freedom. Rather than requiring sacrifice, studies show that voluntary simplicity can enhance your mental and physical health. Relish the increased satisfaction that comes along with scaling back.

Organize your stuff with choices that leverage your unique strengths. You’ll be more likely to succeed with a routine that feels natural.

What Will You Do if Your Partner Seems to Be Losing Interest?

Are you wondering whether your partner has lost that loving feeling? You used to text each other ten times a day. Now, you wonder if he lost his phone. She told you that she wanted you to see her parent’s summer place, but these days she’s leaving you out of her future plans.

Whether you want to revive your romance or just figure out where you stand, it can be disturbing when you suspect that your relationship is slipping away.

Ponder these suggestions for what to do when it looks like the honeymoon is over. They’ll help you cope with restoring your connection or preparing to move on.

Steps to Take for Yourself

The more your partner pulls away, the more you may be tempted to obsess about them. However, taking a good look at yourself can help you to make more rational decisions.

1. Check for patterns. Have you been down this road before? A series of infatuations that cool off after a few dates could suggest that you need to be more selective. If you gravitate towards lovers who belittle you, you may be unconsciously repeating childhood experiences.

2. Stay busy. It’s easier to have healthy relationships when you devote adequate time and energy to your other responsibilities and interests. Fill your time with meaningful activities instead of wondering what your partner is doing.

3. Hang out with friends. You’ll also have more to contribute to a romance when you maintain close ties with family and friends. Take an evening or weekend off to socialize on your own.

4. Set limits. In an ideal world, your partner will tactfully tell you what’s on their mind. In reality, they may not be able to articulate their feelings or they may shrink away from conflicts. In that case, you’ll need to decide when it’s no longer a good fit for you.

5. Look ahead. Value yourself. Give yourself credit for taking a chance on love. Take the time you need to heal, and reflect on what you’ve learned. Then, start dating again with a clearer picture of what you want.

Steps to Take for Your Relationship

Depending on your response, you can make your relationship a positive experience whether it lasts one week or many years. Try to treat your partner with respect and kindness even when you’re feeling confused.

1. Talk it over. Aim for a non-threatening conversation. Ask direct questions without assigning any blame. Knowing the truth will be more productive than catastrophizing or doubting yourself.

2. Listen closely. Romantic relationships often touch upon our most sensitive personal issues. Be open to what your partner has to say. You may learn valuable information about yourself.

3. Pace yourself. One of the most common reasons a love interest backs off is because they feel rushed. Honor your needs without bringing up marriage and children during the first date.

4. Be supportive. You may be so relieved to find someone compatible that you’re relying on them too much too soon. Be honest about your expectations and how much you’re really giving.

5. Try new things. Maybe you still love each other, but your routine has become a little stale. Schedule date nights. Sign up for samba lessons.

6. Consider counseling. Relationships can be complicated. Talking with a therapist could be a wise investment if it helps you to resolve chronic issues.

Relationships go through stages. This may be a period of temporary awkwardness that will ultimately bring you closer together. On the other hand, this may be a time to wish each other well and look elsewhere for the love you deserve.

What Every Woman Ought to Know About Menopausal Weight Gain

Menopausal weight gain can have consequences more serious than outgrowing your favorite pair of jeans. Find out how middle age spread affects your body and what you can do about it.

Facts about Menopausal Weight Gain

1. Understand estrogen. As estrogen levels drop during menopause, your metabolism slows down. Your body burns fewer calories and stores more fat.

2. Watch your waistline. Extra pounds you gain after menopause are likely to turn into abdominal fat, which increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. Talk with your doctor if your waistline is 35 inches or more.

3. Check your thyroid. Menopause and thyroid conditions can cause similar symptoms including increased weight, as well as depression and fatigue. Your doctor can advise you about whether you would benefit from testing.

4. Expect changes. If you’ve been thin your whole life, you may be surprised to see the scale edging up. It’s natural if you to need to eat less and move more to maintain your dress size.

Using Your Diet to Fight Menopausal Weight Gain

Putting on extra pounds later in life is common, but not inevitable. A University of Pittsburgh study found that women who made two simple changes in the way they eat lost dramatically more weight.

Take a look at their secret:

1. Skip desserts and soda. Women who consumed fewer desserts and sugary drinks lost almost eight times more weight than their peers in that Pittsburgh study. Switch to fruit and water instead.

2. Reduce calories. You can also eat less by controlling your portion sizes and choosing nutrient-dense foods. That way you can keep up your energy while you stay trim.

3. Dine at home. Cooking your own meals gives you more control. Restaurants tend to use more fat and sodium than you would.

4. Eat soy. Some experts believe that plants have isoflavones that function like human estrogen. You may want to try tofu or soy milk to relieve night sweats and help you sleep.

5. Consider supplements. Most women can get all the nutrients they need from a balanced diet. However, your doctor may recommend supplements, including iron and calcium, based on your individual needs.

Using Exercise to Fight Menopausal Weight Gain

Almost 80% of adults don’t exercise enough according to the CDC, and older adults are even more likely to be inactive. Once you start working out, you’ll burn more calories and experience other benefits like strengthening your bones and relieving stress.

1. Train in intervals. Structure your workouts so that you alternate between brief bursts of high intensity movements and gentler exercises. You’ll burn more calories and fat, condition your heart, and increase your metabolism while spending less time at the gym.

2. Build muscles. You lose muscle mass as you age, but you can slow down the process. Lift dumbbells or do body weight exercises like dips and pushups.

3. Work on balance. Enhancing your balance can protect you from falls, correct your posture, and sharpen your thinking. Sign up for yoga classes or train at home. Try doing squats while standing on your toes or sit on a stability ball when you’re watching TV.

4. Move more. In addition to formal exercise, you can incorporate more activity into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car a few blocks away from the office so you can walk the remaining distance.

Women gain an average of 10 pounds around menopause, but diet and exercise can minimize the effects. Slimming down will help you to stay healthy and enjoy your golden years.

Transform Your Inner Critic Into Your Own Personal Cheerleader

It’s easy to beat yourself up over your shortcomings and failures.

Your inner critic is attempting to protect you, but like an overprotective parent, it’s causing more harm than good. Criticizing yourself only serves to make life more challenging. It also robs you of options and puts limits on your life.

Your inner critic provides information, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen. Your inner critic is relentless. It’s active from the moment you wake up until you fall asleep. It’s even active in your dreams! Your inner critic won’t be contained easily.

Change what your inner critic says to you and reach your full potential:

1. Drown it out. Fill your mind with positive talk and imagery. Avoid giving your inner critic any room to make its opinions known to you. Keep your self-talk positive and expect the best to happen.

2. Recognize the truth. Your inner critic is just a manifestation of your fear. Its sole purpose is to stop you from harming yourself. However, it’s like a scared child. You tell yourself that you’re an idiot or that you can’t do something in order to have an excuse not to expose yourself to failure.

* Your inner critic is a lunatic. Consider treating it as such.

3. Empty your mind. If you need to make a phone call or finish your taxes, keep your mind empty and get started. It’s your thoughts that stop you from getting things done. Keep your mind clear and get busy. Action is the best way to keep your critic at bay.

4. It’s all a matter of moving your hands or moving your mouth. Consider every action at your disposal. They’re all a matter of either doing something or saying something. That’s all there is to life. You’re either physically doing something or talking.

* There’s no practical difference between calling your best friend and making a cold call. You’re dialing the phone with your hands and speaking with your mouth.

* How can an inner critic exist when every action you take is either moving your hands or your mouth? It’s all the same.

5. What would you tell a friend? Would you judge a friend as harshly as you judge yourself? What would you say to them in a similar situation? What would you say to your child? There’s no reason not to treat yourself just as kindly. Be a friend to yourself.

6. Say something encouraging to yourself every 10 minutes. Set a timer on your phone or computer. Get in the habit of encouraging yourself each day. After 18 hours, you will have said 108 positive things to yourself. It won’t take long to create a new habit at that pace. Criticizing yourself is a habit. Encouraging yourself is also a habit.

7. Make a list of your high points. Think about your greatest successes. It’s easy to fixate on a few bad choices, but choose to focus on your highest achievements. Make a long list and review it regularly. You’ll enhance your mood and put your critic to bed.

The inner critic in your head limits your life and your opportunities. Remember that your inner critic is no different from a child afraid of the dark. It isn’t rational. You don’t have to listen.

Take control of your inner talk and lift yourself up. Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend or loved one. Turn your inner critic into your most positive supporter and you’ll live a life you enjoy.

Top 10 Steps to Enhance Your Memory

There are many components of a good memory.

The health of your brain is among the most important. It’s natural for memory to decline with age, but there are many ways to slow that decline.
A poor memory can be frustrating for everyone involved. There are simple steps you can take to enhance your memory at any age.

Boost your memory with these simple steps:

1. Change your diet. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids and an anti-inflammatory diet can enhance memory. Your diet affects all aspects of your body. Alter your diet and you alter your ability to store and retrieve memories. There are several versions of anti-inflammatory diets. Experiment and see which works best for you.

2. Manage stress. Stress is hard on your body, brain, and memory. Stress has been linked to decreases in memory. Set reasonable expectations for your life. Learn how to relax and avoid stress. Ensure that you’re getting enough leisure time.

3. Get enough sleep. Scientists are still confused about what happens while we sleep, but it has been established that our brains don’t work as well when we’ve been deprived of sleep. One late night on the town will prove this fact to anyone. Get enough sleep and your memory will be enhanced.

* Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
* Avoid caffeine.
* Try taking a nap for a middle of the day pick-me-up.

4. Use repetition. It’s much more effective to expose yourself to something repeatedly than to attempt to learn it in one sitting. If you’re trying to learn French vocabulary words, six 5-minute sessions will be more beneficial than one 30-minute session. The popular flash card program, Anki, uses spaced repetition to aid memory.

5. Keep your mind active. Do something each day that requires a lot of brain activity. Reading, crossword puzzles, chess, and various brain teasers are effective at keeping your mind active and sharp. Avoid relying on just a single activity. Mix it up and hit your brain from every angle.

6. Be creative. Creativity uses different parts of the brain than the more analytical functions we typically perform. Paint, draw, learn an instrument, or write. Anything requiring creativity can be useful.

7. Exercise. Moving blood through your body and brain can boost memory. Obesity can lead to blood sugar and circulatory issues. Both can impair memory. You don’t have to pretend you’re training for the Olympics, but get your heart pumping for a few minutes each day.

8. Write it down. It’s easier to remember something if you write it down, instead of just hearing or reading it.

9. Say it aloud. Use all of your senses. Say it so that you can hear it. If you write it, read it aloud, and imagine it, it will be much easier to remember. Expose yourself to the information you wish to remember in a variety of ways.

10. Maintain healthy relationships. Some memory experts believe that relationships are the key to keeping your brain healthy and active. It has been discovered that those with the busiest social lives have the slowest declines in memory.

* Spend more time with family and friends.
* Make some new friends or join a club.
* Volunteer.

Even if you believe you’ve been plagued with a poor memory, it can be enhanced.
Minimizing stress, challenging your brain on a regular basis, and getting sufficient sleep are a few of the steps that can be taken to improve memory function. It’s never too late to pay attention to your memory.

Here are some related articles on memory

5 Tips for Improving Your Memory

Superfoods For Memory and Brain Power

Top 10 Life Secrets You Didn’t Learn in School

High school is good preparation for college.
And college can be a good preparation for finding a job.

Yet neither is very good at preparing you for general success in life. The most important ideas and skills for successful living aren’t taught in school. Unless you have an appropriate mentor, this critical part of your education is your responsibility.

Consider these secrets to living a successful and enjoyable life:

1. Persistence is the ultimate power. There are plenty of highly intelligent and talented people living on the street. Even if you feel that you were born with the short end of the stick, you can still be incredibly happy and successful by any measure. The ability to persevere can overcome almost any obstacle.

2. You can’t control other people. With practice, you can learn to control yourself. When you appreciate how challenging it is to control yourself, you’ll realize how futile it is to attempt to control others. Invite people into your life that you don’t feel the need to change, and everything will go more smoothly.

3. The best investment is the investment you make in yourself. Spend money to enhance your skills and abilities. A gym membership and the right books can be the best money you’ll ever spend.

4. Failing is an essential part of success. Those that ultimately succeed are those that failed the most. Fail quickly, learn, adjust your process, and have another go at it.

5. It’s important to forgive easily. When you forgive others, you set yourself free. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean you give the other person a second chance. It means that you’re choosing not to suffer any longer.

6. Most of the things you worry about will never happen. We’re all experts at creating imaginary challenges. We worry and expect the worst. Take a few moments and think about the biggest worries you’ve had. Most of them never happened. There’s plenty of time to get upset after something negative actually happens. Avoid feeling bad before it’s justified.

7. You only need a couple of good friends. Good friends are hard to find. Those people that you believe have 20 close friends do not. Focus on making quality relationships. You don’t have enough time to take care of more than a couple of close friends anyway.

8. Find a partner that fits into your life, rather than trying to build a life around your partner. Suppose you have the life-long dream of spending your winters in San Diego and your summers in the south of France. It doesn’t make sense to become romantically involved with someone that insists on living near their family in Oklahoma.

* Build a life you love and then find someone that fits into your lifestyle. There are more people you could happily spend a lifetime with than you think.

9. Find your purpose. Living in a three-bedroom ranch with two kids and a dog is not enough. Imagine having everything you want in life, but spending 8+ hours each day at a job you despise. You’ll spend a lot of time at work. Ensure that you find something you enjoy.

10. Stay in shape. Even the 3-sport high school athlete can eventually reach 300 pounds. It’s much easier to stay in shape than to get in shape. Develop an exercise routine and diet plan you can follow for a lifetime.

It’s possible to do well in school and still struggle with life. However, life is easier than you think once you understand these secrets you never learned in school.

The Secret of Teaching Yourself to Go to Bed on Time

Advice about sleeping usually starts with telling you to go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule. In reality that’s much easier said than done.

If you have a day job, you pretty much have to get up when the alarm goes off. On the other hand, your bedtime is up to you, and that’s where your plans may go awry.

For all your good intentions, you find yourself binge watching the new season of House of Cards or shopping for wine online until the wee hours. Then, you feel rotten the next day at work, and resolve to turn over a new leaf. Unfortunately, you spend the next night chatting on the phone with your old college roommate.

What you need are new habits to break the cycle. Check out this list of things you can do to help you go to bed earlier and wake up fresh in the morning.

Things to Do Before You Go to Bed

1. Be specific. You’re more likely to succeed if you aim to go to bed at a certain hour rather than leaving the timetable vague. Count back 7 or 8 hours from the time you need to wake up.

2. Greet the sun. Light has a powerful impact on your brain. Exposure to morning sun will make you more alert and sync your internal clock so that you’ll be drowsier later in the evening.

3. Turn off electronic devices. Turn off your computer and TV at least an hour before bed. You’ll sleep better if you avoid lighted screens and mental stimulation.

4. Create rituals. Engage in activities you’ll associate with going to bed. Take a warm bath and put on your pajamas. Drink a cup of herbal tea or moisturize your feet.

5. Limit caffeine and alcohol. Coffee and cocktails could keep you up at night and interfere with the quality of your sleep. Have your last cup of java before 2 pm, and skip the nightcaps.

6. Turn down overtime. Studies show that working 50 hours or more a week dramatically impairs your sleep and productivity. You’ll feel happier and accomplish more if you leave the office at a reasonable hour.

7. Resist napping. While naps are usually an effective way to catch up on the rest you need, you want to stay awake while you’re adapting to a new schedule. If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, remember that the discomfort is temporary.

Things to Do After You Go to Bed

1. Stop worrying. Many adults with insomnia actually sleep more than they realize. It’s natural to wake up periodically during the night.

2. Try meditation. Deep meditation has many of the same health benefits as sleeping. Repeat a mantra or focus on your breathing while you’re waiting to drift off.

3. Grab a pillow. Maybe an aching back or stiff shoulders are making you toss and turn. Until you buy a new mattress, your old pillows can help. If you sleep on your side, put a cushion between your knees to align your hips. When you’re on your back, support your spine by placing a pillow under your thighs.

4. Set interim goals. Ultimately, you want to sleep through the night, but you can start off gradually. Promise yourself you’ll spend 30 minutes in bed. If you’re still wide awake, go do something boring until you’re ready to come back for another half hour.

Sleep plays an essential role in your health and wellbeing. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you start going to bed on time.

The Art of Patience

Patience is a virtue. Patience is the ability to tolerate delay without frustration. Those with patience are able to remain calm and avoid impulsive action when faced with challenges. Being impatient has little to offer. The line at the store is impervious to your thoughts and emotions. If you’re stuck, you may as well enjoy yourself.

Patience is beneficial to your health, happiness, relationships, and goals. Impatience is costly.

Benefits of Patience

Consider these important benefits to having patience:

1. It’s easier to be happy when you’re patient. Impatient people are not experiencing positive feelings. Having patience reduces stress and anxiety. Challenging situations are more manageable when the situation can be approached with patience.

* Has being impatient ever benefitted you?

* How do you feel when you’re impatient? Are you stressed? Happy? Uncomfortable?

* Are the patient people you know more or less happy than the impatient people you know?

2. Patient people are healthier. The stress that impatient people feel is hard on the mind and body. Those that feel less stress suffer from fewer medical issues. Heart conditions, ulcers, and many other health conditions are made more serious by stress. You can potentially live longer and enjoy yourself more if you’re patient.

3. You can accomplish larger goals. Big goals require time. Time requires patience. Big goals are impossible without some measure of patience. Consider how your impatience has short-circuited your success in the past.

4. Some things are outside your control and patience smooths the journey. Overcoming an illness or injury can’t be sped up by sheer will or impatience. A pregnancy requires a certain amount of time. Getting over a personal loss or tragedy takes time. Losing several pounds can’t happen overnight.

5. You’ll make better decisions. Impatient people don’t take the necessary time to make wise decisions. Impatient people are stressed, and stressed people tend to be impulsive. Patience provides the time and space to contemplate the situation and make a wise decision.

* Make a list of the times when impatience has cost you. Consider your personal relationships, work, and finances. Impatience leads to poor decisions. Remind yourself of those times you’ve made your life more challenging by being impatient.

Developing Patience

It’s possible for anyone to develop patience. Follow these steps:

1. Set short goals. For example, attempt to spend the next hour being the most patient person you’ve ever known. Avoid letting anything bother you during this period of time. Extend the time as you’re able.

2. Pause before everything you say and do. Do you want to get off the couch and raid the refrigerator? Make yourself wait 15 minutes. Are you ready to interrupt a conversation to make yourself heard? Wait until the conversation has concluded before speaking. Slow down and practice patience at every opportunity. The average day will provide plenty of practice!

3. Determine when you’re least patient. When do you find yourself unable to control yourself as well as you’d like? Focus your attention on these trouble spots. Aim for slow, steady progress. Avoid expecting perfection or making too many demands on yourself. Slow and steady wins the race.

4. Notice your thoughts when you’re impatient. What do you think about when you’re feeling impatient? Notice your thoughts and change them. You can choose to think about anything you’d like, so think about something that encourages you to be patient.

Patience is a character trait worthy of cultivation. Many confuse patience with weakness or passivity. But patience is an intelligent reaction to a situation that’s outside the realm of control. Impatience can be unhealthy, create additional challenges, and make you miserable in the process. Which do you choose?