8 Ways Patience Improves Your Health—and Tricks to Keeping It
Impatience can lead to increased stress, anger, and more. Use these tips form experts who say practicing patience will give you a better quality of life.
It's easier on your heart
In general, those with "Type A" personality and people who have high levels of hostility are both thought to possess low levels of patience, says Christopher Lootens, PhD, who teaches clinical psychology at High Point University in North Carolina. "Findings have indicated that people in either of those groups have significantly increased risk of heart disease, suggesting a link between patience and decreased heart risks," Dr. Lootens says.
It relaxes your body and mind
Dr. Lootens says effects of impatience can cause labored breathing, increased muscle tension, verbal or nonverbal hostility, and more. He suggests using coping methods to "reverse" that behavior in the moment. "This would include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, or pleasant imagery," he says. Try these tips to help your body fight stress.
Reframe your thinking
For example, if you become impatient while waiting in line at the grocery store, Dr. Lootens suggests that you take a look around and recognize that everyone has to wait and let this become part of your thought process. Say to yourself, "I'd love to be served immediately, but that isn't always realistic. I'll be fine if I have to wait five minutes."
Mindfulness is the practice of stopping and observing without judgment, says Wendy Whitsett, a licensed professional counselor in Arizona. "Mindfulness allows us to be present in the moment," she says. There are multiple ways to practice mindfulness, with a goal to gain patience, even if just for a few minutes at a time. "You can use your five senses to help you start a mindfulness practice," says Whitsett. "It can be as simple as watching the sunset and taking the time to stop and be present in that moment." Read on for how to better live in the moment.
Patience helps to build empathy, because when you are patient with others, you learn tolerance and are better able to understand the feelings of others, says Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, a New York City-based therapist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy.
Think before you speak or send an email
Hershenson suggests pausing before you speak or write something via email or text. "Sometime we speak without considering the consequences, but if you take time to think about what you want to say, you can avoid hurting others," she says.
Know your triggers
Take notice of what irritates you or escalates your feelings of impatience, says an article in Psychology Today. The article suggests individuals should know the signs of stress and what factors trigger their impatience. Here are some tips to help a partner who is impatient.
Learn how to calm down
Most likely stressors are in your life, but according to the University of Michigan, implement coping skills to feel better. The article suggests ideas like exercise, taking a nature walk, playing with your pet or journal writing to reduce the effects of stress.