I’m really looking forward to something happening at the end of the month. Am I excited and happy that it will be happening soon? No. I’m whiney and unhappy that it isn’t happening soon enough. This ungrateful impatience relates well to the pandemic we are all wading through right now. Some are upset, even depressed, because it feels like it will never end. We just want everything to go back to normal. The disruption is almost more than we can bear.
We live in an instant gratification world. The pandemic is bringing awareness to all the conveniences we take for granted. We can’t just jump in the car anymore and go to a concert or see a movie to amuse ourselves. You can still get food delivered to your front door, but going to restaurants and shopping for groceries is weird with social distancing. Wearing a mask is such an easy thing to do when you think of what you are protecting yourself and others from, but have you seen the amount of people losing their shit over having to wear one?
So how do you acquire patience when you feel like you have none? Here are some methods you can use to improve your patience.
Make Yourself Wait
Yeah, I know, but to acquire more patience, you have to practice being patient. Start slow and work your way up. Try not looking at your phone while waiting in line, read a difficult novel (War & Peace anyone?), make a dinner from scratch, or put together a large jigsaw puzzle.
Give Yourself the Gift of Time
If you tend to come unraveled because you feel like you have to rush to get everything done, then unload anything that isn’t important. Either delegate or dismiss. Is it important for you to scroll through social media for hours on end? Is it important that you have to select outfits for your kids with matching accessories? Find those time sucks in your life. If you have more time, you won’t get as easily frazzled.
Find Your Triggers
Take some time to figure out what makes you impatient. Once you identify them either alleviate them or figure out an alternative way of approaching them. If you get impatient because you are constantly interrupted at work, then start blocking out time in your calendar to be able to concentrate and get through a task. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and turn off notifications for incoming emails.
Indulge in Your Zen Activity
Walking, yoga or meditation are all ways to strengthen your inner calm. Find your specific zen activity and make sure you practice it every day. This is your time.
Diffuse The Bomb
If you find yourself in a situation where you are about to blow, then try taking three deep breaths or counting to ten slowly in your head. Or just laugh. A laugh instantly relieves the pressure building up.
Empathy and Love
When getting impatient with others, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes and think how you would like someone to react to you. Your coworker is not making mistakes on purpose to piss you off. Get inside their head and try to figure out a way to train them that makes more sense for them. The elderly couple is not purposefully driving slowly to make you late. Think of older people that you love and imagine that it is them instead of strangers.
Reframe Your Thinking
If, for instance, you are stuck in traffic, remind yourself that the situation is out of your control. Nothing drastic is going to happen because you are late. You are uncomfortable. It isn’t anything you haven’t been through before. If it helps, find a mantra to repeat during these particular times. Something like “I realize this is out of my control and I accept that.”
And in those situations where you have no control to make it go any faster, find a distraction. Listen to a podcast, play a game, or do a quick lesson on Duolingo. Are there other people around? Make up stories about them in your head. Who are they, what do they do for a living, what is their name, where are they headed, etc.?
I hope you’ll take some of these ideas to help you during this time of uncertainty, and in less intense situations where you are about to lose your shit.
Desperately googling mantras,