They say patience is a virtue, but do we have the optimum levels of patience in our busy lives?
The definition of patience is “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” And, of course, every individual has differing levels of patience when it comes to different and difficult circumstances.
It is so very easy to lose our patience in our modern busy lives. Sometimes, that can be over the smallest of things, such as spilling water or going into the kitchen and forgetting why we have gone in there!
Patience is often linked to the feeling of frustration, and that can come from so many different areas of life. On the whole, there are two main sources of frustration that can lead to a lack of patience in a situation, and these are:
- Frustration that is caused by other people’s actions
- Frustration that comes from something you did or didn’t do that causes a lack of patience with yourself or your actions
Either one of those can cause a feeling of heightened anxiety over the situation, and that situation can be something as simple as driving or even progress at the gym!
Losing patience with a situation is often an indication that the situation you are in may be difficult to mentally or physically maneuver. You are experiencing some mental or physical blocks that you are finding difficult to master or overcome. This is the source of frustration and anxiety and ultimately the beginning of losing patience with that situation (or person!).
Shall we talk about moods and how it affects levels of patience, just for a second? When you are experiencing the situation, your mood significantly impacts how much tolerance you have for the given experience (I know you are nodding along here!).
For instance, if you woke up in a terrible mood and you commence something that you do every day with ease, such as the school run in the morning, you would find that this lousy mood would lower your tolerance levels to a point where even the most straightforward thing or comment will irritate you and you lose your patience much quicker than you would normally. Or maybe you have woken up in a delightful mood, but the day is going horrendously wrong with incidents and accidents everywhere. You may find that because you are happy, these little bumps in the road along your day don’t bother you as much because your tolerance levels are improved in line with your mood.
So, in what circumstances can you lose patience? Well, there are so many things that can cause you to lose your patience day-to-day, and these can include (but not all!):
- Bad driving
- Spilling something
- Taking a test or an assessment
- Stressful meeting or situation at work
- Learning a new skill
- Repetitive tasks such as housework
- Messy environments
There are, of course, so many more elements of life that can cause you to lose patience. While different circumstances will be other for everyone, we need to delve into the world of why patience is essential and how to improve your tolerance in situations that would otherwise get your patience going down the drain!
Why Is Patience Necessary?
Patience is a mechanism of the mind that allows you to cope with varying levels of a problematic situation with clarity and control.
It is essential to have a level of patience in your being that allows you to navigate life with only minor frustrations, the lowest amount of anxiety, and lower your stress level!
Having a better level of patience in your life can assist you in learning new things, as it will increase your understanding and reduce the instances of your mind putting a patience block in your way.
The Benefits of Practicing Patience
When we learn to increase our levels of tolerance, or indeed control the levels of patience we already have, we find that there can be so many benefits gained in life holistically that may help you to live your best life, but even better!
Practicing patience can be challenging, especially if you are constantly finding yourself in fast-paced or challenging situations in life. This can be the ultimate warning that you need to slow down, take stock of your life, and evaluate whether it is conducive to having more patience.
When you learn to practice the art of having more patience in difficult situations, you will find the increased level of tolerance in your life as a whole increase. You may also reduce anxiety and feel more holistically happy in many areas of life, such as:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved interpersonal and romantic relationships
- Reduced levels of anxiety- which can also have a positive impact on sleep, concentration, digestion, and skin health
- Increases your sense of personal power (you are in control of your whole life)
- Ability to engage in new situations and activities
- Mind freedom
Patience can be learned and increasing your levels of tolerance (as well as reducing the instances that cause you to feel infinitely frustrated or lose your patience!) can all help towards creating a happier you and a person that doesn’t have a quick escalation of stress that leads to losing your patience.
Recognize Your Triggers
What triggers you to lose your patience?
While we could chat forever about this part of patience, we probably would be here forever, as it’s such a variable question!
What triggers someone to be frustrated and lose their patience will be tolerable for someone else and may even be tolerable for you when you feel in control of everything going on!
But the most important thing to recognize about losing your patience is what triggers that loss of control, and it could come in so many familiar and not so common disguises. It is incredibly personal and changeable!
Losing your patience can also be linked to your beliefs and understandings of the world and the people in it, which may have been taught at a young age and things you carry through life today.
Here are some common triggers that can result in a lack of patience:
- Rude/Intolerant people
- Lack of understanding in a specific situation
- Feeling vulnerable/out of your depth
- People who have no consideration
- A heated discussion/argument
- Feeling like you have no control
- Direct violence or threat of violence
When it comes to patience or lack of it, you can reduce the instances where your patience wears thin by understanding what you do and do not have control of in life. This is super important to understand about patience.
If you have emotional triggers, it may be wise to remove yourself from any of those situations that may provoke an emotional response in you and cause you to lose your patience. Similarly, suppose you lack patience with people with a particular character, such as arrogance or insolence. In that case, it may be better to avoid those kinds of people to make your patience last a lot longer.
The Role Mindfulness Plays in Learning to Become Patient
Mindfulness plays a huge role in understanding ourselves and how we react to certain situations that may cause us to lose our patience.
As we have seen, we cannot control other people. Sometimes we also cannot control certain situations beyond our control; however, we can remove from our lives anything that does not serve us well with keeping our patience in check.
Learning to be mindful can help us recognize the things that don’t align with us as human beings. Things that don’t align with who we are will often cause frustration and anxiety, simply because the situations, people, or feelings do not fit with the person we feel we are.
By understanding our triggers, we can see clearly what elements of life we may need to leave behind. By reminding ourselves that it is not necessary to get so frustrated with aspects of life we cannot control, we can start to imprint in our brains that everything we do is a choice.
We choose our reactions to other people and challenging situations, and the responses we have can be learned behaviors or habits. You can change those by using reframing techniques and simply by constantly reminding yourself that you can gain patience in any situation.
So why is it essential to become a more patient person?
Simply because it can make you a more tolerant, calm, and balanced human being. We can’t control other people or particular situations. Still, we can control our reactions to those people and our responses to those awkward situations that may make us feel uncomfortable, heighten our anxiety, and potentially make us lose our patience.
Mindfulness and constantly tapping into ourselves to let ourselves know that we can patiently cope with anything life directs us to is such a powerful method. It will increase your patience the more you strengthen that connection with yourself.
You do not have to be involved in anything that makes you feel like you will lose your patience, and every life move you make is a choice, and you can choose to remove yourself from that occurrence or person that makes you feel that way.
You are your own person, and you are a patient one.