Starting something new or working with something you are unfamiliar with (getting out of your comfort zone) is a process that requires patience – a somewhat quiet virtue. Certainly not as exciting as courage and compassion on the main stage; patience means waiting calmly in the face of frustration or adversity. But, as quiet as it may seem, patience is essential to a happy, healthy life.
According to a 2007 study by Fuller Theological Seminary professor Sarah A. Schnitker and UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions, perhaps because they can cope better with upsetting or stressful situations. They also rate themselves more mindful and feel more gratitude, connection to humanity and the universe, and a greater sense of abundance.
That sounds like how we all would like to be, right? But, what if you find yourself being very impatient either with a situation, a person, or your inability to figure out some aspect of new technology? How can you find that oh-so healthy and virtuous state of patience then?
Here are a few suggestions when you find yourself frustrated and impatient:
- Take a time-out and do the Morter March.
When you do this exercise (while being thankful and grateful for all you have), you are, in effect, helping to give your brain the neurological upgrade it needs toward a more mindful and peaceful state of patience. You can get started as soon as today on learning this powerful work with our free video here.
- Consciously reframe the situation.
Feeling impatient is not just an automatic emotional response; it involves conscious thoughts and beliefs. If a colleague is late to a meeting, you can fume about their lack of respect or see those extra 15 minutes as an opportunity to get some reading done. How you see things and react to them is up to you.
- Practice gratitude.
If we are thankful for what we have today, we’re not immediately desperate for more stuff or better circumstances. It is easier to practice patience and delayed gratification because we are already thankful and grateful for what we have and where we are right now.