best friends forever?: lessons on friendship (part I)
best friends forever?: lessons on friendship (part II)

how to be patient: 5 tips for staying calm now

Patience is a very important characteristics when it comes to living a positive life, but it isn't always easy to come by. For some people, patience comes naturally, and for others it requires quite a bit of work. For whatever reason, I struggle a lot with being patient. I am constantly in a rush, trying to get to the next place in my life, though I know I should slow down and live in the present moment. Here are some tips I’ve been giving myself lately to help me stay present and be more patient.

5 Tips for Being Patient

  1. Take deep breaths. It might seem like a very small step, but it’s a step in the right direction. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel tense and impatient, a few deep breaths will help you focus on the present and may help to push your irritation aside.

  2. Be always open to learning. Almost every person and situation in life has something to teach you. If you’re being impatient and rushing (as I so often do!), there’s a good chance you might miss out on something worth learning. Focusing on the learning experience can help you want to be more patient with others.

  3. Look at the big picture. Whenever you feel impatient, try to think of the big picture. Ask yourself, “What’s really more important right now than being where I am?” It’s tempting to believe that you really must be elsewhere, but everything in life happens for a reason and there’s no reason not to pace yourself.  

  4. Choose the easy path. If you grow more and more impatient with a situation, that doesn’t make the situation go away. It only aggravates you and may even cause problems that can make you even more impatient. Patience, hard as it seems sometimes, is the easy way out.  

  5. Consider others. One of the last things we usually do when we’re impatient is consider how we might be affecting others. If we stop for a moment and do this, we’ll most likely realize that our impatience is not worth upsetting other people. Focus on selflessness, and patience will come more easily.  

Being patient is something I literally struggle with on a daily basis. I tend to move at a pretty quick pace and always feel like I need to be somewhere else, doing something else. Clearly, this has lead to a lot of issues -- particularly not being present in my own life. I always say I'm going to work on being patient -- and I always fully intend to -- but it's something that I just usually don't have the patience for. With this article, I'm going to really start focusing on being patient and slowing down so that I can really appreciate my life fully. 

What tips do you have for being patient? 
What advice can you offer someone struggling with patience? 


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These are great tips for choosing patience. I especially like the last one. I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 2 years now and I know that he is the one. He doesn't want to get married until we graduate with our masters degree because he has seen so many people in his family and close networks that have gotten married and settled or did not achieve the dreams they had by not going back to school.
I will graduate with my masters in roughly 3 years. Sometimes when I think how long three years is I get very impatient. Complying with your 5th tip, I start to get selfish and I stop considering his needs and wisdom. I always have to step back and "look at the big picture". I know it will happen at the perfect time.

Thank you for this post. :)

Tips that I have for being patient? Well, I tattooed a symbol on my left hand that represents patience, as a reminder. Like you, I need to be reminded to have patience on a more consistence basis.

Lacey - You're welcome! I'm so glad that you found this post to be helpful. When you're looking forward to something in the future, it can be really hard to be patient, but I often find that I look back after getting something I've waited for and I realize that the waiting was actually part of what made the end goal wonderful. Seeing the big picture and considering the feelings of others are two great ways to practice patience and make waiting bearable.

Patrice - How wonderful that you have a patience tattoo! That's an excellent way to have a constant reminder of patience with you at all times.

I’ve noticed the physical effect on my body when I’m in a rush: tensing of the neck, shoulders, forehead & shallow breathing. I’m actually putting my body through stress and releasing nice toxic, aging, stress hormones! When this happens I consciously sloooow my actions right down and become very deliberate in what I do. This actually helps me be more productive and effective than if I were in a manic rush- particularly as my brain has a tendency to disengage when stressed- and no hope of a meaningful interaction, even with myself!
They say patience is a virtue and it’s one I did not possess much of, for a long time. But I came to realise that impatience achieves absolutely nothing- it certainly did not speed things up and only left me feeling irritable, stressed-out and sometimes even raging beyond reason. Now I overestimate time. I double the anticipated time of say waiting to be seen for a hospital appointment, on the phone to a call centre, waiting for a flight. If I think it helps to speak to someone to speed things up, then I can do so, calmly (without even the hint of assault in my voice). Now I just relax, space out, read, or as you said focus on being positively present. If you chose to, you can actually turn waiting in to a great opportunity to do something positive for yourself. It let’s waiting be your friend rather than a raging enemy you’ll never win against.
If you’re always in a rush, block in small segments of free time in your diary. Free time is just as important as productive time, particularly if it reduces stress. I often think the quality of our lives is reduced by a perception that living it at break-neck speed is a good thing. Do we really need to? “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” Lao Tzu.

((Ps. Please edit/ reduce anything I write- I find it quite impossible to be concise!))

Nice list! I think #3 is really important. We normally get caught up in all the day to day activity, we forget to stop and think about the big picture. We are all becoming something. You may not know it now but give it some time and it will expose itself.

Rachel - No need to reduce or edit! You had some great comments and I really appreciate you taking the time to share them with me and other Positively Present readers. Two points that really stuck with me are: paying attention to your body and blocking segments of free time. Listening to our bodies can really help us learn to be more patience, as can setting aside free time that will allow us to reduce stress. Great ideas! Thanks!

Vic - Thank you! I'm glad you highlighted point #3. Seeing the big picture is one of the best ways to calm down and be patient. Thanks for reading!

Yes! Just being rather then always feeling like you should be doing. Your right, it all starts from the practical concept of proper breathing.Or are we in too much of a rush to bother with that? Thank you for the article.

Derrick - Being rather than doing is hard for a lot of people (including me!), but it's such an important aspect of living a positive life. Breathing is the basis from which we can all begin to feel present.

I am not patient at all. I should have died 25 years ago in a car crash but was very luck - so I know life is short... and then you die.

So my time is my most precious asset and I scorn those who waste it. Yet I have to live and inter-perform with friends, colleagues, fellow citizens, adversaries and even enemies (I work in a public administration). So your tips come in very handy and here are two additional ones :
1. When you feel impatience rise, slow yourself down (as positively present writes) and tone your voice down (as I do). This will also calm down other persons involved.
2. I hate waiting. So I am often late, to avoid waiting. But this is rude and ineffective for my colleagues and friends. But I love reading - and I never have time enough for it. So I always carry round enough reading to be able to enjoy my waiting time. When I really have a nice article or book to read, I can even be early...

Eurobrat - Thanks for sharing these awesome tips for patience! I especially love #2, which I also do. I keep a good book loaded on my iPhone and then I can read while I'm waiting. (For non-readers, games or other fun activities would do the trick.) Thanks again for these tips. It's great to hear them from someone who truly realizes the meaning behind "life is short."

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