How can I Become More Patient?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Acquiring patience may take patience. Whether one suffers from a hot temper when dealing with children, or whether one simply can’t endure waiting in lines, one can learn to be more patient. Being more patient does require practice, and changing one’s mindset, because the more stressful a situation becomes, the more likely one is to become impatient. Only practice can help one become more patient during times of stress.

Waiting in line can try people's patience.
Waiting in line can try people's patience.

Being more patient generally requires learning some new skills. One of the tried and true methods is learning to count to ten, especially before responding to a child. In fact when we talk about children, we are usually using the word patience in the sense of not getting angry with kids when they challenge us, or when they delay accomplishing a task.

Keeping yourself busy while waiting can help make you more patient.
Keeping yourself busy while waiting can help make you more patient.

With kids, counting to ten can save hot words from bubbling to the surface by refocusing energy briefly. Further, if one can’t control temper in that time, count to twenty, or thirty.

Consider waiting time as a gift to do other tasks such as reading or completing crossword puzzles.
Consider waiting time as a gift to do other tasks such as reading or completing crossword puzzles.

Another way to approach this is to leave the room for perhaps a minute. Go stand outside and listen for birdcalls, or lie down on a bed in another room. Alternately, take a moment to look at the cutest picture of your child or children, as that often helps us remember that we love our kids even if they make us crazy.

Instead of becoming angry, an impatient driver might realize that everyone on the road is being delayed.
Instead of becoming angry, an impatient driver might realize that everyone on the road is being delayed.

The goal is to allow the brain to catch up to our flight or fight response to extreme emotion. Choosing a brief flight, mentally or physically, helps us assess what we want to do, instead being impatient. Our decision of how to handle a situation with an annoying child is then a reasoned instead of hasty decision. One can’t unsay words spoken in haste. Thus it is better to leave things unsaid until we regain control of ourselves.

For some people, introspection and meditation are key to learning patience and forgiveness.
For some people, introspection and meditation are key to learning patience and forgiveness.

In other circumstances, we may need to build patience while we are waiting in lines, in traffic, or at the doctor’s office. Many of us have tight schedules and waiting means our schedules may be off for the day. This can quickly result in anger, which may end up being expressed at other drivers, or employees.

People who lack patience tend to get into more confrontations.
People who lack patience tend to get into more confrontations.

One can alter one’s mindset regarding this “waiting time,” by considering it a gift. If one expects to wait, bring something fun to do. Bringing along Sudoku games, crossword puzzles, knitting, portable music or books on tape, can keep one patient and occupied during wait time. Waiting can disrupt scheduling, but may have hidden benefits. The doctor who keeps one waiting is likely doing so because he or she takes time with each patient.

People can increase their patience by reducing their workload.
People can increase their patience by reducing their workload.

One can also become more patient by expressing empathy for others. The other drivers waiting on the road with one are just as stuck. One is not alone, but accompanied by lots of people similarly circumstanced. A long line at the cash register means everyone is waiting. It is important to extend empathy to the person working the cash register. She is probably overworked, and has dealt with many people who were angry. Her feet probably hurt as much as yours do.

Instead of counting to ten, one can occupy one’s self, or use the moments of waiting for brief meditation, breathing exercises or prayer. Alternately, strike up a conversation with another person, as it may prove rewarding.

The greatest key to being more patient is to distract the mind from the waiting or annoyance if only briefly. Cultivating a more patient personality can be rewarding. Suppose a conversation results in a friendship or a great business connection, or just remains a way to observe other people. Alternately, being patient may help you become a better Sudoku player, finally knit that scarf, take a few minutes to relax, or become a better parent.

Checking the clock often is a sign of impatience.
Checking the clock often is a sign of impatience.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon299384

I usually can not stop myself from snapping at a person when they annoy me. I'm trying to find new ways to get this problem out of the way so I can be better about things like being interrupted, even if it is rude.

anon221671

i find i am most impatient around loved ones. sure counting to ten works most of the time, but even the waiting in line gets more annoying even if done with a loved one. that's the easy part. i have actually just lost a girl as i did not allow her to take time letting me in her life. the connection was there, we were in places like paris and venice and i wanted it all right then and there, but she was not ready. i did not see this and got irritated and offended at her seemingly 'not caring as much as i do' attitude. now i think how could i have been so blind. impatience sure killed me. what can i do to better this?

anon62875

Great! Mahalo nui loa (thanks much)!

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