Learn how to be patient by staying calm under pressure.
Here’s the problem: you’re waiting for someone to finish compiling a report that you need for a meeting. Because of an issue that came up, you’re already 15 minutes late.
You can feel your body getting tense, and you’re getting quite cross. You start sweating, and suddenly you yell at the person for being slow and putting you behind schedule. You can tell she’s hurt, but you can’t help it. She’s making you late! Does this sound familiar? Many of us are impatient at times. Losing control of our patience hurts not only us but those around us. Impatience raises our stress level and can even cause physical harm to our bodies. Being impatient can also damage relationships.
In this article, we’ll examine strategies that you can use to be more patient.
Why Practice Patience?
Others often see impatient people as arrogant, insensitive, and impulsive. They can be viewed as poor decision-makers because they make quick judgments or interrupt people. Some people will even avoid impatient people, because of their poor people skills and bad tempers.
People with these personality traits are unlikely to be at the top of the list for promotions to leadership positions. Impatience can even affect relationships at home.
The more patient you are with others, the likelier you are to be viewed positively by your peers and your managers, not to mention your family and friends.
Signs of Impatience
How do you know when you’re being impatient? You will probably experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Shallow breathing (short breaths).
- Muscle tension.
- Hand clenching/tightening.
- Jiggling/restless feet.
- Snap/quick decisions.
Finding Your Causes
If you experience the symptoms of impatience, your next step is to discover the true cause. Many of us have “triggers.” These could be people, phrases, or specific situations (like rush-hour traffic) that regularly cause us to enter an impatient frame of mind.
Make a list of things that cause you to become impatient. If you’re having trouble identifying your triggers, use these tips:
- Stop and think about the last time you were impatient. What caused it? You can narrow this down to the root cause by using the 5 Whys technique.
- Ask your family, friends, and co-workers about your impatience. Chances are that they know what gets you “wound up”.
- Many people become impatient due to physical factors such as hunger, dehydration, or fatigue. Analyze your body the next time you start to feel impatient. A simple remedy might be a snack and a glass of water!
- Keep a journal with you to record when you start to feel impatient. Write down what the situation is, and why you’re getting frustrated.
Identifying your triggers helps because it forces you to examine your actions and uncover why you’re doing what you’re doing. This knowledge also helps you devise strategies to avoid becoming impatient.
Of course, it would be great if you could avoid the triggers that make you impatient. But for most of us, that’s just not possible. So you have to learn to manage impatience instead.