The past few days, my dad has been telling me to have more patience. He’s a slower moving individual (both physically and mentally), as he’s reached his late 70’s, and finds my fast pace incredibly annoying as well as exhausting. And I, of course, hold the opposite to be true—always begging him to move a tad faster. What’s the rush? You need to slow down and have some patience, he always says.
And while I typically roll my eyes or sigh, this comment finally hit me after about the hundredth time of hearing it. I finally took a second to ask myself why I was always rushing. Sure, sometimes I’m on a time crunch, but more often than not I’m rushing for no good reason—and it’s time to slow my roll. The professionals are here to offer six tips for having more patience, which will prove to help you and I enjoy each moment as it comes:
1) Resist the urge to act fast.
J. A. Plosker, Licensed Master Social Worker, says you should make the conscientious effort to resist your impatient urges: “Identify your signs of impatience and take a break in the moment. We all get impatient. That’s the reality of work, rush hour, children, and a life in progress. Identify your telltale signs of impatience (quickening pulse, face flush, louder voice, etc.). When you feel a sign, stop yourself from acting or talking further until you take a moment to reflect on that feeling and breathe. Consider your next moves or words carefully. Yes, it may be awkward to catch yourself in the middle of a conversation to take a few seconds to relax, but it’s not as awkward as the aftermath of saying things you’ll regret.”
2) Ask yourself why you’re rushing.
Building off of Plosker’s tip, Certified Life and Career Coach Carolyn Birsky says you should ask yourself why it is you’re in a rush. “When you find yourself rushing through something take a minute and ask yourself why you’re rushing,” she says. Maybe you legitimately need to be somewhere in a few minutes. But often, you’re rushing is entirely self-imposed: those things you’re trying to complete aren’t necessarily as urgent as you think they are. By simply becoming aware of why you’re rushing, you can determine if you need to legitimately hurry up or if you can afford to slow down a bit.”
3) Deliberately put less on your plate.
Birsky’s other tip is to stop taking on more than you can handle. “Often, we get impatient and rush around when we feel that we have too many things we’re juggling at once,” she explains. “Whether that’s a ton of meetings or too many general life commitments, having too much on our plate can take a toll on our ability to live in the moment and can increase our general level of impatience. By learning to say ‘no’ and/or schedule fewer things, you free up time for yourself, which in turn makes you feel less rushed.
4) Look up from your phone.
You can also benefit from looking up and engaging with the world around you, says Kiaundra Jackson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “We live in a fast-paced world where we’re constantly on our phones and other electronic devices as the world passes us by. We literally walk around with our eyes glued to our phone and miss the possible interactions and connections we could make,” she says. “Take a moment to look up and engage with those around you. When you are not consumed with all your emails, texts, and social media notifications—which you feel you must respond immediately to—you have more patience for life and those around you.”
5) Practice empathy.
Jackson says you should also consider how your impatience negatively affects others: “You never know what someone else is going through. When we stop for a second and put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we are practicing the epitome of patience. Instead of getting upset with someone at the grocery store, take into consideration that person may have had a rough day and does not need another negative interaction. Extending grace, patience, and empathy is the very thing that you would want someone to extend to you when it is needed.”
6) Get adequate sleep.
Chris Brantner, Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo.com, says, “the best thing you can to do have more patience is get more sleep. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep, but the average person gets 6.8 hours… and many get fewer. Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase stress and anxiety, leading to shorter tempers and irritability. This often results in irritability, as you have a more difficult time thinking clearly and dealing with stressors when you haven’t had enough sleep. The fix? Get adequate sleep. Of course, that’s easier said than done with our busy lives. However, by practicing good sleep hygiene, you can achieve better quality and quantity of sleep.”