5 Ways to Practice Patience

It’s true that good things come to those who wait – and the research is there to prove it. If you struggle with being patient, implementing small, daily habits can help you reap meaningful, long-term benefits.
24 Aug 2022
Words by: Bridget Barnett

As the saying goes: patience is a virtue. But before you can be rewarded with all that goodness (like so many things in life) a little self-awareness and a whole lot of repetition comes first. It’s one science says is worth it: mastering the act of tolerance enriches your life in many ways – from experiencing less negative emotions, increasing life satisfaction, to pursuing and accomplishing goals.

To help improve your patience, keep these five small tips and reminders front of mind every day. After all, practice makes perfect.

Wait A Moment

Intentionally create ways to practice patience every day. Do you have a delicious lunch that you’re looking forward to devouring? Keep it in front of you for a few extra minutes before tucking in. Is someone trying to merge into your lane of traffic and you’d usually scoot ahead? Slow down to let them in. By mindfully practising the act of waiting, you will begin to build up your ability to tolerate it naturally.

Add Perspective

When you’re feeling impatient, self-soothe by taking a moment to consider the situation. Ask yourself: “Will this matter in a year, a month, or a day?” For something as small as a long queue at the supermarket, it is likely the experience won’t matter to you at all in just 30 minutes’ time.

Picturesque ocean through window and door, “The Framed Sea” by photographer Levan Kiknavelidze
Photograph by Levan Kiknavelidze

Manage Expectations

Pay attention to times when your emotions influence your expectations. For example, if you go into your first tennis lesson expecting to nail your backhand, it’s likely you’re going to be frustrated when the ball flies out of bounds. If you head to your lesson knowing it’s going to take some time to pick up a new sport, you will feel calmer, happier, and more patient while learning.

Shift Focus

If you’re feeling trapped by your impatience in a situation, consider stepping away to avoid the feelings escalating. Engage in mindful moments with your body, such as systematically tensing and releasing muscle groups from your toes up to your forehead, or simply move your attention towards the sights, sounds and smells surrounding you.

Stress Less

There’s a correlation between impatience and stress. This means stress management techniques can help improve your patience too. Small, easy ways to lower your stress levels quickly include leaning into deep breathing techniques, and embracing short meditation exercises. Long-term, while it seems obvious, try to eliminate or lower your stress triggers. Not sure what your triggers are? Keep a stress journal so you can reflect on patterns of when you’ve felt the most overwhelmed or anxious.