From fast food to fast technology like apps, email, and Smartphones, we are surrounded with products and services that provide instant gratification. The more we have come to rely on these products of convenience, the faster our world seems to move. The drawback to all of this I-want-it-now service is that it can lead to unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. Moreover, it destroys our capacity for patience.
Most of us are familiar with the frustration that begins to grow inside of us whenever we have to wait - for anything. Over time, this frustration causes our stress levels to build. The stress that comes with impatience can lead to short tempers and increased blood pressure! Not to mention the impact it has on those who are recipients of an impatient person.
As familiar as we are with our own impatience, we’re probably equally as familiar with how it feels when someone else’s impatience affects us. That, too, creates stress, tension, resentment, hostility, and distance.
If you’re someone who’s needing to be less reactive with unrealized expectations, try these methods to increase your patience and reduce stress:
1. Take a step back. The next time that you feel frustrated over a delay or some other situation, try taking a step back and looking at the issue from a different angle.
Becoming upset over the circumstances isn't helpful to anyone. Focusing on finding a solution helps your brain change gears so that you feel less stressed. It's also easier to remain patient when you believe that a resolution is on the horizon.
Obstacles come in many forms, from physical circumstances that prevent us from moving forward to intangible circumstances and external influences that can cause delays. Regardless of the circumstances, try looking at all aspects of the situation in order to find a solution that helps you get past the obstacle.
2. Focus on what you’ve achieved utilizing breathing and meditation. Many of us naturally begin to feel impatient if we’re making slow progress towards our goals. Rather than thinking about what you haven't gotten accomplished and how far you still have to go, focus on the progress that you have made.
Maintain your motivation and build your patience by celebrating small victories as you work towards the fulfillment of your goal. Be mindful of your progress, and acknowledge the good work you’ve accomplished.
Take a few deep breaths when you find yourself feeling anxious about your slow progress. Breathing is an essential tool for stress-management. Following your breath grounds you and helps you recenter your energy.
Meditation can be of even greater benefit. If you really want to up your game, practice this FREE 15 MINUTE MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. You can also download a full series of GUIDED MEDITATIONS FOR CONSCIOUS CREATION I’ve produced that are designed to open the pathways to your highest self.
Gentle exercises that focus on stretching and breathing, such as yoga and meditation, can also help you to remain calm and patient as you work towards a goal.
3. Set realistic expectations. Sometimes we become impatient with ourselves and others because we have unrealistic expectations. The next time you start to stress over a delay or other obstacle, try to be more flexible with your schedule and expectations. Consider a range of results or behaviors that would be acceptable to you.
Examine your own expectations of self. It’s important to strive for growth and improvement, but sometimes you expect more out of yourself than you would anyone else. Check to see if you’re goals are manageable or if they’re too big to accomplish in the time you’ve given yourself. Also check to see if you’re leaning too much toward perfectionism in your efforts.
Examine your expectations of others. When you hold certain expectations of others and link that to your own happiness, it’s going to get messy. Keep in mind that what you consider realistic can be very different than what someone else might think. Make sure you communicate and agree on expectations each of you can be okay with.
Examine your expectations of events. It may sound silly, but when you put your hopes and dreams into a specific event, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Stay focused on what attracted you to participate in an event aside from the potential outcomes.
4. Identify your triggers and develop a plan to remain calm. Everyone has certain triggers - people, places, or things - that make them feel impatient and stressed. Figure out your most common triggers and think of ways that would help you successfully cope with them..
If you track your emotional states during the day, you can better define situations and behaviors that trigger your impatience. Look for patterns or situations that leave you more vulnerable. This awareness can help you prepare for situations that have the potential to trigger an impatient response.
5. Laughter is the best medicine. Learn to laugh at little delays and frustrations. Make up a joke about some aspect of the situation and enjoy a chuckle. You’ll feel your stress begin to melt away. Along with finding humor, choose another emotion you’d like to shift to.
What would you rather feel instead of impatience? If you don’t like the feelings that come with impatience (and most people don’t), then think about what you would like to feel. Do you want to feel relaxed, curious, confident, or compassionate? Enter the situation with a different outcome in mind and then relax into your desired state of be-ing.
As you use these tips to build your patience and reduce your stress, you’ll learn how to pick your battles wisely and maintain your self-control in the face of delays.