Life is full of bumps in the road. Construction holds up traffic on your way to work. Your child loses their homework folder about once a month, and your boss blames you for a decision they made.
Sometimes you can change your circumstances. More often, you’ll need to change your attitude so you can run into obstacles without losing your cool.
Developing more patience will make your life run smoother. It’s like acquiring any other skill. You’ll need to practice regularly.
Start with minor irritations and work your way up to handling bigger challenges. Take a look at these exercises for developing more patience.
- Spot your triggers. Figure out what frustrates you and why. It could be certain events or words. Ask your family and friends for feedback if you’re not sure about what usually sets you off.
- Keep a journal. While you’re trying to develop more patience, it helps to keep a record of your activities. Use your phone or a notepad to count the number of times you feel stressed and describe the situations.
- Slow down. Rushing around creates more tension. Pause for a moment when you feel overwhelmed, so you can resist the urge to speed up.
- Meditate on your breath. Try to maintain a daily meditation practice. Even a few minutes of deep breathing can be beneficial. Put aside other thoughts as you focus on each inhalation and exhalation.
- Relax your muscles. Scan your body when something disturbing happens, so you can release tension quickly. Smooth your brows and unclench your jaw. Soften your neck and shoulders. Gently rub your back or any sore spots.
- Take care of basic needs. Dehydration, hunger, and lack of sleep can threaten your composure. Carry a water bottle and healthy snacks with you so you can refuel as needed. Go to bed early and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
- Enjoy the weather. Heat, cold, rain, and snow can teach you to embrace change or at least tolerate discomfort. Buy a beautiful, warm coat or think about plants that need water to grow.
- Delay gratification. Practice waiting for what you want. Postpone purchases for a day or two before you buy new shoes or sports equipment. Go for a walk before you eat dessert.
- Set priorities. Are you trying to do too much? Delete nonessential tasks from your to do list. You’ll have more time for the things that really matter to you.
- Adjust your expectations. Technology conditions us to expect things quickly, like groceries delivered to your door or streaming movies and music on demand. Remember that important projects usually require significant time and effort.
- Evaluate the outcomes. Losing your patience might be tempting if the clerks at the DMV escorted you to the front of the line and fed you ice cream while they completed your paperwork. However, you usually just wind up feeling less-than-satisfied when you lose your patience.
- Listen closely. Do you become edgy when your children ask multiple questions or coworkers talk so long that a meeting runs overtime? Instead of tuning them out, give them your full attention. You’ll probably feel calmer and you may learn something new.
- Be thankful and helpful. Gratitude and generosity are the ultimate recipe for patience. Count your blessings so you can keep minor irritations in perspective. Think about what you can share with others instead of focusing on your own comfort.
Increasing your patience will make you happier and better-liked by others. You’ll experience less stress and find it easier to get what you want.