Being patient lessens your stress allowing you to focus so you can act with awareness and intent. Here are ten simple ways to practice waiting that will add zen, joy, purpose, and productivity to your life.
The first step to any practice that entails self-control is to get a hold of yourself. The best way to check yourself is to check your life force. Just breathe. Place your hand on your chest, inhale-hold it-exhale slowly…now repeat. Why? Breathing gives you a moment to slow things down, recenter yourself, and therefore your focus. Now you can move on to the tactics.
Challenge your expectations. Is the reason your impatience realistic? What can you learn, and how can you change your mindset? Taking a step back and garnering perspective is sometimes all you need to flip impatience to patience and zen.
Nyla is annoyed that everyone seems to be winning, and she is stalled. She starts to feel discouraged and considers giving up as a result of her impatience.
She stops and takes a deep breath, and starts to think about how she measures her success. Nyla questions if it is a solid metric and what it is based on. She looks at her timeline and pats herself on the back for what she has accomplished in that time. She decides she will move forward.
Counteract Your Triggers
Note the outside factors that provoke your impatience, and get a grip on it or your reaction. Note, it usually amounts to your reaction. Keep track of what triggers you anytime you become impatient with someone, a situation, or timing. In addition to challenging yourself, you can counter that which provokes you.
Nyla recognizes that she starts to feel discouraged after watching someone else celebrate. She understands that staying away from those who are winning behooves her to continue connecting and interacting with positivity.
Nyla changes her response and outlook on others’ successes. She begins to celebrate others and reach out to actively learn and collaborate with her peers, whom she discovers are just as proud of her as she is of them.
Get Out of The Minutia
Don’t get bogged down in the delays in tasks or timelines. Impatiently awaiting edits or feedback? Get up and get moving.
Focus on The Good
Often time we become impatient with our progress. Learn to celebrate every win-small and all. In celebration, there is appreciation and, more important, healthy distraction.
Smile While You Wait
Instead of being aggravated by the wait, use your wait time to be productive in other areas. Stroll, scroll, relax, or plan a new project.
Celeste is impatiently waiting for notes from her editor. She checks email on her laptop and phone, refreshing a couple of times for good measure. Perhaps I should call him or go to his office to check-in.
She stops, takes a deep breath, and challenges herself to gain perspective. Knowing that she just sent it yesterday, she asks herself-how long would it take her to review this much copy?
Celeste eventually realizes how counterproductive her behavior and plans are. Her editor can’t respond if she is dealing with Celeste’s interruptions.
Instead, she puts on her running shoes, goes for a run, and plans out the next two days, including celebrating her progress over margaritas with friends.
Extend Empathy and Grace
They tried it, and you are frustrated, impatient, and annoyed. These moments are great opportunities to practice empathy by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. For example, when someone is late, I give them the benefit of the doubt. I assume they have a reason for running late. Are they a mom? I can relate. Extend the kindness of concern. Now, if there is a reason is less than or it is a habit. It’s is time to talk expectations. But use empathy and grace first.
Celeste’s editor checks in to let her know that the notes would come a day later than expected due to her need to drive her elderly parent’s home. Celeste recalls her own parent’s needs and busies herself by shopping for healthy snacks, which she has delivered to her editor as fuel for the road, and to continue reviewing her words.
An excellent way to enhance your patience is to learn the beauty of staying present. One of the best ways to stay in the moment is through mindfulness; for example, taking a break to meditate or take mindful walks helps slow you down and allows you to check-in with your mind, body, and spirit. For more on mindfulness.
Make Yourself Wait
Practice tantric waiting: Imagine that your goal is within reach; you just need to grab it. No one is coming to take it, and there will be no loss if you just wait, savor how far you how have come and think of all those who help you get here. Okay, now grab it!
After a three-day wait, Celeste receives the notes. She decides to wait before she addresses any updates and edits; she is going for a walk. The work will be there when she is back, and she wants a clear mind as she reviews the feedback.
Keep the momentum going with affirmations. Use your ability to manifest healthy habits through your words and thoughts. You can therefore cement and maintain your commitment to patience by affirming. Make these affirmations a part of your patience-inducing meditative practice.