We all know that patience is necessary for daily living. I mean, what would happen if we all lost our tempers everytime something didn't go the way we wanted it? There would be even more violence than there is already. Many professionals think patience is the key to having a happy life. I think they might be right.
Philosophers and religions have always praised patience as a virtue, but now researchers are joining in. They have found that good things really do come to those who wait. Whew! That's good to know!
I'm sure you've witnessed (or been one yourself from time-to-time) one of those impatient people who get so angry their faces turn read, the veins in their forehead and neck start to pop, and look like they're have-crazed! They can be kind of scary, too. A 2007 study by Fuller Theological Seminary professer, Sarah Schnitker, patient people suffer less depression and negative emotions. They are better able to cope with stressful situations, as well. The study goes on to say that these patient people rate themselves as being more mindful, feeling more gratitde, and more connected to the universe. They felt a greater sense of abundance. Those are reasons enough to become more patient!
Did you know that there are different types of patience? I sure didn't. Ms. Schnitker, in 2012, sought to refine the "human understanding of patience" and found that it does, indeed, come in many forms. The first type is interpersonal patience. This refers to having patience with annoying people. She conducted a study of 400 undergraduate students and found that those who had a higher level of patience with rude and unpleasant people, tended to be more hopeful and had a higher degree of satisfaction with their life.
Another type of patience involves "waiting out life's hardships without frustration or despair." Not surprising that this group of patient folks also had a higher level of hope than those that give up easily.
The third type of patience is with daily hassles; those little (or big) irritations that come with living in a world with other people. These include long lines, traffic snarls, malfunctioning computers, and losing the car keys. The people who demostrate patience with these kinds of snafu's said that they they are generally happier, less depressed, and more fulfilled humans. And if you're patient in all three of these areas, well, you've hit the trifecta! Patient people make better friends and neighbors...that's no surprise. Patience helps us achieve our goals and is also linked to good health.
But what about those of us who aren't patient? Can we learn to be? The answer is yes. But like all good good things...it takes practice. And yes, even some patience!
The first thing to do is to reframe the situation. Look at the irritating situation in new light; look for the positive. If you have to wait a few minutes, see that "free time" and use it to listen to music, read, or plan something. Patience is mindfulness. When you become impatient, take a deep breath and notice your emotions. What are you feeling? Look at them. Feel them. Then simply let them pass by. Let them go. The next step in learning patience is to practice gratitude. Another study showed that people who were better able to delay gratification (for even small things, like waiting for your turn at the check-out) were happier and more patient. If we're thankful for what we have, at this moment, we don't feel the need to rush to get something else. So, take a deep breath, and be happy for all that you have, including the money to pay for whatever if it that you're impatiently standing in line to buy. Reflecting on all you are grateful for, puts everything else in perspective.
We can't escape our everyday hassles and frustrations, unless we opt to go live in a cave. And for most of us, this isn't really an option. The best alternative, then, is learn patience. it's not so hard to do and really pays off in the long run. Have you ever accomplished anything positive my blowing off steam? I know I haven't. Most of our little irritations are caused by things out of our control, so why sweat 'em? Instead, chill out and go to your happy place. It works!