Why would you want to learn how to practice patience? Some scientists say the human attention span is now less than eight seconds. And it’s no wonder. So many things today are designed to deliver instant rewards.
For example, swipe left. That felt good, didn’t it? Streaming, fast food, online games, next day deliveries–they’re all designed to feed our need to get something now.
It’s fantastic that we have the technology to achieve this. But as a result, waiting becomes uncomfortable. You may even feel anger or experience dangerous impulsivity. You may struggle to connect with people and feel out of control.
When you learn how to practice patience, you regain control of your life.
Notice When You Feel Impatient
Do you dislike silence? Do you feel anger when a fast-food line takes too long? Have you felt nervous when you can’t have something you want now? Learn to become aware of this. By noticing not just that you are experiencing impatience, but what the situation is, you can learn to cope more effectively. One way may be to notice these situations, and without judgment, write down some of these things so you can reflect upon it later and develop better coping mechanisms.
Give Yourself Opportunities to Wait
Science shows that waiting makes people happier. That’s because anticipating that something beneficial, new, or surprising is coming your way makes individuals feel good about themselves. It increases feelings of gratefulness and joy.
Patience is a life skill. So it takes practice. Start with 30 seconds and work your way up to minutes with simple activities like:
- Sitting in a quiet room, doing nothing when you want to do something else.
- Pouring a drink you like and then waiting to drink it
- Choosing the long line at the grocery store
Choose activities where you’ve identified impatience. Then, put yourself in those situations and participate in those activities consciously attempting to practice patience. It’s an excellent way to develop a positive habit.
Practice Not Multi-tasking
Studies show that multi-tasking drops your productivity by 40%. It also feeds impatience. Become aware of times when you quickly switch between tasks. And to whatever extent possible, do one thing at a time.
If you’re a parent, that’s easier said than done. But you’ll still find many how to practice patience in this area of your life.
Find some time in your busy life just to sit and breathe without distraction, even if it’s for one minute. Do it as many times a day as you can or when you feel especially stressed. These little rest times in your day can significantly improve how you practice patience and your overall wellbeing.
Mindfulness and patience go hand in hand. These techniques support staying present-focused, so you appreciate the world around you. Through mindfulness, you can more easily connect with how you feel and empathize with how others.
How to Practice Patience in the Real World
For many, living at a fast-pace and without patience is all they know. And no one’s saying it’s easy to practice patience. But start small, step-by-step, and see your patience grow. Yes, you can practice patience in the real world. At the Integrative Life Center, patience is one of many life skills our team of professionals is helping clients develop every day in our programs for people with:
- Eating disorders
- Mental health disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
- Sex, love & intimacy disorders
If you’re struggling with these life challenges, learning patience, and other life skills in a supportive environment may help. Please call us at 615.455.3903 to learn more about our programs.