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Cultivating Patience

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

With the restrictions of Covid 19 pandemic we need patience more than ever; whether it’s rushing to the drug store to find it closed, or working from home and being pulled away by bored, squabbling children, or waiting to find out when we will get back to our new “normal.” We feel impatient when something we want is delayed. We can become impatient with another person, with life’s hardships, and with daily hassels. Acting from a place of impatience can mean impulsive decisions. Impatience can increase our stress levels and take the joy out of living. But have hope. We can cultivate our ability to be patient. It is best to work on developing our "patience muscle" in advance of being in those situations that try our patience. Here are some tips.

Cultivating Patience

  • First, get to know yourself and the situations that trigger impatience for you. How does it feel when you are impatient? What are your emotions, body sensations and thoughts?

  • When possible, manage your time so you don’t have last minute time pressures to get things done. Remind yourself that things can take longer than you expect and that challenges and unforeseen events are part of life.

  • Develop more space in your mind by doing enriching things for yourself like exercise, listening to music, connecting with people you care about, having fun, and meditating.

  • Try finding a soft spot in your heart for others, putting yourself in their shoes. This can help us be more patient with people.

  • Try deliberately making yourself wait for something you enjoy. It can help you savor it more and can develop your patience muscle.

Despite our best efforts, we will still find ourselves in situations where we feel impatient. Since we tend to feel impatient when we see a situation we don’t have control over, try focusing on what we do have control over. For example, while waiting in a lineup we can observe people or we can plan the evening’s meal. And if you find yourself having strong reactions, try taking a few deep breaths or going for a walk and coming back to the situation later.

Cultivating patience can help us get more joy out of life, can reduce our sense of stress, and can make us more pleasant for the people in our lives to be around.


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