Managing the Symptoms
When you feel impatient, it’s important to get out of this frame of mind as quickly as possible. Try these strategies:
- Take deep, slow breaths, and count to 10. Doing this helps slow your heart rate, relaxes your body, and distances you emotionally from the situation. If you’re feeling really impatient, you might need to do a longer count, or do this several times.
- Impatience can cause you to tense your muscles involuntarily. So, consciously focus on relaxing your body. Again, take slow, deep breaths. Relax your muscles, from your toes up to the top of your head.
- Learn to manage your emotions. Remember, you have a choice in how you react in every situation. You can choose to be patient, or choose not to be: it’s all up to you.
- Force yourself to slow down. Make yourself speak and move more slowly. It will appear to others as if you’re calm – and, by “acting” patient, you can often “feel” more patient.
- Practice active listening and empathic listening. Make sure you give other people your full attention and patiently plan your response to what they say.
- Remind yourself that your impatience rarely gets others to move faster – in fact, it can interfere with other people’s ability to perform complex or highly-skilled work. All you’re doing is creating more stress, which is completely unproductive.
- Try to talk yourself out of your impatient frame of mind. Remind yourself how silly it is that you’re reacting this way. People often don’t mind if a meeting is delayed, just as long as you let them know that you’re running late in advance.
- If your impatience causes you to react in anger toward others, use anger management techniques to calm down.
- Some people become impatient because they’re perfectionists. However, in addition to causing impatience, perfectionism can actually slow productivity and increase stress. Learn how to stop being a perfectionist.
Remember that, although many people are naturally patient, the rest of us need to practice patience for it to become a habit. Becoming more patient won’t happen overnight, but do persist – it’s so important!
Many of us struggle with impatience. But if we want healthy work relationships and a successful career, then we need to spend time making patience a habit.
Start by identifying your triggers. Often a specific person or situation can immediately cause you to become impatient. When you identify the specific causes, you’re better able to discover why it’s happening. You can then use strategies to overcome your impatience.