In my efforts to improve how I show up in the world with my kids, my husband, and my clients I have been looking at both areas where I excel and areas where I could use some up leveling. One of the areas where I think I can continue to evolve is my pursuit of patience. I define patience as my personal capacity to accept with grace any delay, challenge, or discomfort without getting pissed-off or silently judging others.
Of course, there are the standard recommendations for increasing patience. Just “stay calm.” You only need to “slow down” and everything will be fine. Take the time to really “think things through.” I am sure that most of us have heard these words said to them or they have said them to others that were trying to navigate a difficult situation at least once in their life. I also feel a bit challenged personally with patience when it feels like everyone around me is always rushing from one thing to another. So, I thought I would try to see if there were some additional ideas on how to improve my own patience. Here are four tips I ran across.
Interact with someone from another culture
One of the first ideas I ran across surprised me at bit, but after I thought about it more, it made more sense. Different cultures respond differently to their environments. Consider the people in Spain still have an afternoon nap. America isn’t the only place with people, and it seems that patience shows up a bit differently as well.
We have had the great pleasure of having a few aupairs in our family over the years. Two of the lovely ladies were from Brazil. They were significantly more patience in general than we were. Another aupair was studying to be a pre-school teacher and was from South Korea. She had to be the most patience of the ladies. Lastly, even our aupair from Iceland was much more patience than we ever were.
While I have not had time to visit another country and be immersed in the culture, other than Canada, I think that even being around someone from another culture can help put things in a different perspective. We have fast everything. We have fast food we have microwave ovens and instant everything. We had to teach a few of the ladies about the microwave and several of them put on a few pounds from all the access to fast an unhealthy food. I even remember thinking at first that one of the young ladies seemed lazy with her nonchalant attitude. Yet, it turns out she was just more patient and less uptight about things that we were.
Distract Your Monkey Brain
I love this tip. I think that I employ it sometimes, but not enough. When you really start to feel impatient, consider finding a distraction for your little monkey brain. If you are standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you packs their groceries like a pregnant sloth, then consider talking to the person behind you. Or maybe you read the Enquirer or whatever other random magazine is in the rack.
I often do this when driving too. I hate to admit it, but I might have a little bit of road rage. Nothing too serious, but I am silently, or not so silently, judging the holy heaven out of that dingle berry head who cut me off. I try to consider that my kids might always be in the car, so I distract myself by thinking of new ‘non-cuss’ words to express my discontent. I have come up with some real wing-dingers.
Stop Manically Munching
I will note my initial skepticism on this particular idea. I mean how does me not eating like the Tasmanian devil help with improving my patience? Well, apparently chewing slowly works on the need for instant gratification. If we chew our food slowly, we will feel fuller quicker and will not eat quite as much. While it isn’t a general increase of patience technique, it is a way to help you develop patience when it comes to overindulging. You can more easily ignore those chocolate cravings and perhaps regret your food decisions a little less often.
I have to say I am a bit hit or miss here. I think I might need a bit more of the basics first. The act of chewing slowly in itself takes patience. Yet, when I think about it, I also find that I enjoy the taste of my food more as well. I liken it to being more mindful when eating. This might be one that I need a bit more practice with.
You have heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” A good laugh can cure almost anything. I remember the first time I heard Chewbacca Mom laughing over the silly mask. Even if I was in a rush, I stopped to laugh my face off.
Laughing at a situation instead of getting frustrated or upset helps alleviate stress and tension. Laughing when someone pushes your buttons is a better response than getting mad. All of this might be true, but I am pretty sure it is going to take me a little more work to be able to laugh at the dingle-poop that cut me off in traffic – but I might as well try. Sometimes the pretend cusswords don’t always seem to help.
I am committed to working on improving my patience. I know that one of the main reasons that I feel impatient is the lack of control over the situation. I am impatient when I must wait in a long line with someone else’s screaming kid. I am even more impatient if the screaming kid is mine. I know that impatience creeps in on me when I am feeling a loss of control, but maybe that is part of the deeper issue. What do I need to feel like I am always in control? I mean really, there are so many ways that life can get out of control. I am totally fooling myself if I think I can control much of anything.
With all that said, I am going to give these four ideas some more attention to see if I can improve my patience. In the meantime, look for a few more articles over the coming days related to this topic of increasing patience.
And, as always, if you need more support in creating positive habits in work or in life reach out to me or one of the many other amazing coaches on coach.me to get support.