13 Oct Patience

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Article by Patti Sayre, Psychotherapist, LCSW

You need to be patient” said the tracker on the safari that I was on this past summer, as we waited for a lion to make its move towards a wildebeest for his evening dinner. “Be patient” he repeated as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Patience is a skill that I need to be mindful about everyday. It does not come easily for me. Perhaps it is a characteristic of the Type A personality or the result of living in a big city with so much stimuli all of the time. I am not certain, but what I do know is that being anything but patient was not going to move things forward. It was only going to impact me in a negative way and I had waited too long for this vacation and wanted to enjoy every moment! As I settled into the moment and experienced the peace and calm that patience can offer, I began to think about all of the areas in my life where being patient could actually improve my experience. There were many! So this month’s newsletter is about patience.



It is said that patience is a virtue. Yet, in our digitally obsessed world, it is harder than ever to have patience. We are used to having what we need immediately at our finger tips. Additionally, we are constantly busy. We rush between one activity to another and our environment makes us think that we don’t have time for anything. It is hard to wait and being patient can be a practice that takes effort. It is not an inherited trait. It is a trait that is cultivated. Many of us struggle with impatience. However, if we want healthy relationships, a successful career and an increased over all sense of well being; we need to practice patience.

Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity. So anywhere that there is frustration or adversity – like everywhere – we have the opportunity to practice it. Patience speaks of self control, restraint and delayed gratification. What is less fun? Yet, patience is essential to everyday life. Religions and philosophers have long praised the virtues of patience; now researchers are doing the same. Studies find that good things really do come to people who wait. Patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions. They also consider themselves more mindful, feel more gratitude, experience more connection in life and feel a greater sense of abundance. Whether being patient involves simply facing annoying people with more equanimity, waiting out life’s hardships with less frustration and despair or staying calm over daily hassles, the result is that people feel less depressed and more satisfied with life.

Patient people are also more likely to achieve their goals. They exert more effort and are more satisfied with their results. There is emerging evidence that practicing patience may even be good for our health. Patient people were less likely to experience headaches, ulcers, diarrhea and pneumonia. If patience can reduce daily stress it makes sense that it can also protect against stress’s damaging health effects!

Signs of Impatience

  • Muscle tension and hand clenching
  • Shallow breathing
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Rushing
  • Jiggling-tapping foot
  • Snap decisions

Tips for Having More Patience

Understand and counteract your triggers:  What are the triggers for your impatience? Sometimes awareness can help to keep emotions in check.

Change your attitude:  Ask yourself-Why am I in such a hurry? Perhaps if I miss my bus, I can get more exercise by walking!

Remember there are things that you can’t control:  Why be impatient then?

Think big:  Is this something to be impatient about? Will it make a difference in your life in ten years? If not, let it go.

Be the bigger person:  Interpersonally, ask yourself-Does it really matter? If not, move forward with grace and dignity.

Zone out:  There is nothing wrong with taking a quick break when you can’t seem to chill out.

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open. – Arnold Glasow, American humorist

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