“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances” – Thomas Jefferson
Sometimes it’s hard to be patient when the person ahead of you is holding up the line digging through her purse to find her debit card (as if she didn’t know she was going to make a purchase). Or, maybe you need to quickly complete a task and the hourglass on your computer won’t go away.
If you’re anything like me, you can quickly become annoyed when delays cause inconvenience or eat away at your time. And, it’s usually because you are either rushing or have set some unrealistic expectations for yourself or someone else. Wanting things done in a reasonable time frame, being organized and proactive are wonderful traits when it comes to things like completing tasks or projects that you can control. But when you’re at the whim of someone else’s timetable, that kind of thinking only leads to frustration, annoyance, anger and impatience. You can only control things that are within your control.
Here’s how you can become more patient with yourself, friends and family when you notice your feathers are being ruffed:
Look within for the source of the irritation – Are you rushed? Are you trying to fit in just one more thing into your already busy schedule? Did you skip breakfast or lunch? When you’re rushed and not sufficiently nourished, you are more likely to become frustrated easier and have less tolerance. Adding on more things that you can reasonably accomplish in a given time frame, is a recipe for impatience. Try to schedule no more than you can accomplish in an hour, a day or a week. Set achievable and realistic goals.
Detach from Impatience – A quick way to detach from irritation or anger is to take several deep breaths while reminding yourself that the situation is temporary. The longer you stay irritated, the less patience you can display.
Count to 10 – This is a tried and true method to reduce frustration and anger. Count slowly to 10 (or 100 if need be). Once you reach the selected number, you’ll find yourself more relaxed and better able to handle the situation. As an added benefit, try deep breathing while counting.
Think of impatience as a teaching moment and that you are being presented with an opportunity to remind yourself to slow down and become more patient. Doing so, gives you control of your feelings and responses to the people and situations in your life.
And, to help you show more patience and take more control of your life, I invite you to join our Self-Care Circle for more tips, insights and guidance.
Gladys Anderson helps nurses, teachers, social workers, therapists and other care-giving women to set limits so they have more time, more joy and more energy for self-care.