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Becoming Patient

As society progresses, we are becoming increasingly impatient. When we are hungry, food is available for delivery at a click of a button, and when we want to see loved ones, we can do so through social media. Everything has become simpler, faster and as we enjoy instant gratification, it has become a basic right. We have forgotten how to be patient. Instant gratification can feel good, but research suggests waiting for things actually make us happier in the long run.

There are countless opportunities to practice patience in our daily lives, whether it is waiting in traffic or waiting for items to be delivered through the post. It’s the most impatient people in public that grab our attention the most by honking their horns in traffic or mumbling about the length of the queue but how much satisfaction do these people actually achieve? Many religions around the world preach about the virtue of patience and now it is finally being recognised in the scientific community. It has been discovered that there are actually many mental health benefits of patience and can make a difference between anxiety and tranquillity.

Patient people tend to experience less negative emotions and depression according to a 2007 study by Fuller Theological Seminary professor Sarah A. Schnitker and UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons. These people usually express more gratitude and have an increased connection to the world around them. During the study, Professor A.Schnitker asked her participants to regulate their emotions, identify with their own feelings, meditate and empathise with others over a 2 week period. Participants stated they felt like they were more able to be more patient towards frustrating people and felt a decrease in depression with greater levels of positive emotions.

Patient people make the best family members, friends, colleagues and even neighbours for a reason - patience goes hand in hand with kindness. For example, think about the patient best friend who consoles you through a bad breakup or the neighbour that patiently waits through your noisy household renovations. The personality traits of patient people tend to be empathic, reasonable, warm and lastly, forgiving, which is characterised by being highly ‘agreeable’ people. By focusing on becoming more patient will definitely improve your relationships and also benefit your mental health too. There are a few things we can do to help develop patience:

Be Uncomfortable

To begin to become more patient, we need to embrace the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. When we experience something out of our comfort zone, we become uncomfortable and therefore impatient. So make yourself wait in the queue, repeat yourself 5 times to a deaf relative and cook for yourself from scratch, there are countless ways each day to practice being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Cut out the unimportant stuff

We may feel the need to be impatient due to the busy nature of our lifestyle and the only way we would be able to meet all of our daily demands is by doing each of them as fast as we can. To eliminate this, look at your life and stop doing things that aren’t important. That way, you will feel like you can slow down and have more time to spend being patient. Say no to the things that create our impatience that cause stress that are unimportant.

Practise mindfulness

Practising mindfulness goes hand in hand with patience. Mindfulness is a practice of focusing our minds and attention on the present moment and letting go of trying to control the present moment. Regular mindfulness can improve our physical and mental health as well as our attitudes and behaviours. Each time you bring your attention to your senses, emotions, where you are and what you are doing, you are being mindful.

See our Taking Time For You blog for more information:

In conclusion, we can all afford to be a little more patient in our day to day lives. Being patient isn’t just good for our sanity, but can also be a starting point for looking after each other. Be patient and be kind.

By Rachel at Cheswold Park Hospital

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