They say patience is a virtue and for good reason. Being able to deal with delays or situations that annoy you without getting angry or frustrated is not only good for relationships with other people, it’s better for your health, both mental and physical. In “You! Too! Can Become More Patient,” Angela Haupt writes, “When we lose it, our bodies release stress hormones, increasing heart rate and blood pressure.” Over time those factors can lead to a number of physical ailments, including tension headaches and lower back pain and even feeling more tired.
Haupt also points out that by being patient you also are better at decision making and problem solving. Who hasn’t made a hasty decision in a moment of anger only to regret it later? That’s why it’s important to have patience in your personal life and when it comes to running your spa or massage practice whether dealing with a client who is consistently late for massage appointments, an employee who fails to meet deadlines or a supplier who shipped the wrong product order.
Identify what’s bothering you
If you stop to think about it, there probably are situations that cause you to become impatient. Learning how to be patient starts with identifying what these triggers are. If you aren’t sure what they are, try the following tips from MindTools:
Think about the last time you were impatient and ask yourself what caused it. Try to get at the root of it to see if it’s something that consistently triggers your impatience.
Ask others what they perceive that triggers your impatience. They probably have come to understand what gets you upset.
Could the cause be physical? Are you most impatient when you are tired or hungry?
Keep a record of what frustrates you to see patterns and learn your triggers.
Take preventative steps
Once you identify what triggers your impatience, you can find ways to calm yourself down. For starters, you may need to make some lifestyle changes, including eating better, getting more sleep, exercising and taking time off. The stronger and more rested you feel; the better able you will be to deal with situations that set off your anger or frustration.
Start meditating once a day or at least a few times a week. Meditation helps you find balance within in yourself. When you identify that calm spot, you can go there when you feel your emotions beginning to stir up.
Learn to be uncomfortable. Dr. Jane Bolton points out in “Four Steps to Developing Patience” that we’ve become accustomed to thinking that being comfortable is the only acceptable state. However, sometimes you need to accept some irritation or discomfort and learn from it. Often it’s not the circumstance that is causing the discomfort, Dr. Bolton, explains but how our mind is set.
Give your full attention: Sometimes your anger gets ahead of yourself. Try active listening, giving your full attention to the other person. You may come to understand the situation better and not feel so upset. Also you give yourself time to plan a reasoned response.
Talk to yourself: Ask yourself why you are feeling agitated. Talk through the situation. You may find that by talking through the situation, you can see what’s actually upsetting you and let it go or else learn to accept it because it really isn’t as bad as it initially seemed. You also may find a solution.
Find a distraction: If you feel you are getting agitated, try thinking about something else to calm yourself down.
Slow down: You may be rushing so much, you don’t have time to stop, which can lead to more impulsive responses. Slow down and take deep breaths before you act if something bothers you.
Stop trying to be perfect: When you are perfectionist, it’s easy to get agitated over things that don’t seem to be going as you hoped and planned. Stop trying to aim for perfection of yourself and others and accept that some things are just going to be “untidy.”
Patience is a virtue that may not come naturally but you can develop it. It’s well worth the effort to achieve more harmony and achieve your goals.