The Happiness Connection  

You can't be impatient when it comes to learning patience

Give me patience...now!

Recently, I’ve been reminded of what it’s like for many kids as Christmas approaches.

It isn’t so bad in July, but as December arrives and the day gets closer, their level of impatience ratchets up.

I’ve been waiting for almost a year to speak with a medical specialist. As my appointment approaches, I find myself feeling more restless and the days seem to stretch endlessly ahead of me.

I’ve noticed a similar behaviour in my partner. We’re making some changes to the front of our property and have a company coming in this month to do the heavy work. David is having a wonderful time cutting back brush and pruning trees to prep the area. This has resulted in several huge piles of branches that will be removed when they come to do the landscaping.

We know that’s going to happen in the next few weeks, but he wants it done now.

When I mentioned we were having similar reactions to different things, he laughed and said, “God grant me patience and give it to me right now!” That isn’t an original statement, but it made me laugh. It so perfectly expresses how we’re both feeling.

That conversation started me thinking about whether patience is linked to happiness. It turns out it is. Studies show patient individuals tend to have higher levels of mental wellness, better relationships and enhanced stress tolerance.

That’s great news for people who are either naturally patient or have learned the secrets to achieving that state, but what about the rest of us? How does an impatient person learn to be accepting and tranquil?

Let me share the things I discovered and that I am now working on.

Be aware of your feelings

If you don’t recognize what’s happening, you can’t make any changes. Take time to identify your emotions and what’s causing them. Where does your impatience show up in your body? Don’t judge, just acknowledge and seek to understand.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique where you focus your full attention on the present moment. It’s about experiencing thoughts, feelings and sensations but not judging them. This practice not only lessens feelings of impatience but it can also reduce stress and physical pain.

There are many ways to do this. Meditation, yoga, limiting your focus to one thing at a time, slowing down, journalling and consciously breathing and eating are all great mindfulness tools.

Stop trying to control things you can’t

The best way to do this is to find something you can control and focus on that. I may not be able to make my appointment come quicker but I can immerse myself in activities that help me stop thinking about it.

Shift your perspective

Try to reframe your situation so it’s more positive. It can be helpful to expand your focus.

• In my lifetime, these days of waiting are merely a blink of an eye.

• Having this time before my appointment is perfect. I’m going to use it to complete my next book and get it to my editor.

Practice gratitude

It constantly amazes me how many ways this particular practice contributes to happiness and mental wellbeing. Studies show that taking time to express gratitude reduces impatience. This was a new discovery for me.

Show yourself kindness

Don’t get impatient with yourself for feeling impatient. Instead, be compassionate and loving. Get lots of sleep, eat well and exercise. Plan ahead so you can limit stressful deadlines or difficult situations during these periods.

Don’t expect immediate success

As with so many things, there’s no hard and fast rule on the speed with which you’ll accomplish a regular state of calm. Start small and celebrate the little wins. If you have a meltdown, forgive yourself, be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

I’m grateful I don’t have many more days to wait but I’m also aware this is unlikely to be the last time I’ll find myself in this situation. With that in mind, I intend to continue to invite more tranquility into my life by practicing the advice I’m sharing with you.

Hopefully I’ll be able to change, “God grant me patience and give it to me right now!” to “God grant me patience and give it to me in due course.”

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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