Patience: 8 tips & 10 sayings for keeping calm
Impatience can niggle at you on a daily basis, making you nervous and disturbing your balance. The subway is late or that callback from your potential employer just won’t come. These situations can be less stressful if you approach them the right way. Read on to discover some valuable tips for being more patient.
Patience is a key skill that you often rely on as you go about your daily life and so it’s important to work on your patience to get rid of any impatient behaviors that could ruin your mood in the future.
Patience affects your whole life
Even if a bit of a closer look is required: patience shapes your life from a young age and through into adulthood. Professionally, socially and when it comes to addiction, it plays a crucial role.
Walter Mischel, an Austrian-US psychologist, was able to prove this with his marshmallow test back in the 1960s, with variations of this test being used for advertising purposes on television to this day.
In this experiment, over 500 children were given a marshmallow. If they waited a certain amount of time and didn’t eat the marshmallow, they were given a second one. Some managed it, others didn’t.
But it’s what happened more than a decade later that’s fascinating: the children who were more patient back then turned out to be more successful at school, had fewer encounters with drugs and alcohol, and also had better social skills. The differences could still be seen 40 years later between the lifestyles of the children who either managed or didn’t manage to wait for the second marshmallow.
What patience is
The term patience refers to the ability to wait or endure something. Patience is often considered a virtue and its opposite is impatience.
How to be patient: top tips
This test shows the big impact that patience has on you. This is partly nature, partly nurture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change your behaviors in adulthood. Below we’ll explain how you can exercise more patience in your day-to-day life.
Live in the "here and now"
Patience is always a matter of coming to terms with the here and now and not "wishing" your way out of an unpleasant situation.
Fears about the future and stressful memories from the past can hold you back. Focusing on the present is the only way to escape the vicious cycle of worry and relax.
Many people put so much heart and soul into the future, where everything will be perfect and peaceful, that they don’t really engage in the here and now at all. This is a big mistake people make by being impatient. They miss out on their current life, waiting for something that may actually turn out very differently. This causes frustration and disturbs their balance in the long run.
Impatience arises not only when you are looking forward to something, but also when something scares you. That’s why it’s even more important to focus on what’s on your mind right now and how best to deal with it.
Write down your impatient moments
It can also be useful to analyze which everyday situations make you impatient, and you can even write them down on a piece of paper. Are there any situations that should make you nervous, but don’t? What’s different about those situations?
You may be able to see a pattern that you can work with right away. Another benefit of writing things down is that as you address and overcome situations, you can gradually start to cross them off and your list should ideally get smaller and smaller until it eventually disappears.
Don’t take waiting personally
As much as your brain searches for an explanation for having to wait in unnecessary, annoying queues, it won’t find one. You didn’t do anything wrong, so why do you now have to sit twiddling your thumbs and wasting your day to get your administrative tasks done?
As simple as it sounds: don’t take the situation personally, it’s pure coincidence. There are plenty of people around you who are just as much at a loose end with their waiting time as you are.
Use time spent waiting productively
We live in a world full of constant distractions, especially nowadays, which may prevent us from doing the things we actually want to focus on. Thanks to the countless entertainment or messaging apps on offer, your smartphone can offer heaps of ways to keep yourself busy.
Queues could be the perfect places to finally get round to reading those articles you saved months ago or replying to a message from a friend from abroad. A list can come in handy here too, so you can jot down little interesting newspaper articles or books you’re dying to read.
Do some physical exercise
The body can also support you and act as a helpful tool for keeping calm. Yin yoga, for example, requires the body to remain in one position for a prolonged period of time. In doing so, your thoughts can settle down and your mind can relax.
What’s more, yin yoga can release muscle tension and cramps. Doing some small exercises of just a few minutes each day is already enough to relax you and push frantic thoughts to the back of your mind, at least for a little while.
Find inner peace
Finding inner peace can help you become more patient. This may sound obscure to many and not like something tangible you can work on. You should break away from this image; to achieve patience, inner peace is the key.
Maybe you know the feeling of being permanently agitated somehow. New things are constantly being added to the mix and you are constantly worrying and hoping that everything will go well. At the same time, you long for some repose and wonder when everything will finally be over and you can start to relax again. Often, however, you wait in vain, because inner peace, as the name suggests, has little to do with external influences.
People who have found inner peace are not easily fazed. They leave the past behind and take the future as it comes. They know what they have achieved and what failures they have had to swallow.
However, the key is that they can emotionally distance themselves from their experiences and only carry their mistakes with them from a rational perspective. There is no set recipe you can follow for achieving inner peace. You have to look inside yourself and find what’s at the core of your imbalance.
Learn to let go
It can be extremely frustrating when a project doesn’t go the way you thought it would. Often, not only does this cause your project to fail, but it also blurs your vision for the future.
This is where letting go comes in, even if that means having to take a step back and writing off work you’ve already done. It’s unpleasant, but it’s not the end of the world.
But letting go doesn’t just come in for big projects, in interpersonal relationships, too, letting go of certain ideas can make you a more relaxed person. We always expect certain reactions from certain people – "Why did she cancel just like that?", "That’s not the answer I wanted to hear" or "Why is he doing that? That’s not like him at all!".
By thinking this way, you’re constantly placing demands on your fellow human beings and feel dissatisfied when they react in a different way than you had imagined. You should also break away from these ideals and not always nit-pick, especially when it comes to people who are close to your heart. This will do you good, above all, and not only because you’ll be more relaxed, but also because you’ll develop more tolerance.
No matter what your situation in life, don’t get tunnel vision. Setting clear goals is important to succeed, but sometimes taking a step back gives you the chance to look at the bigger picture, set new interim goals and in doing so, avoid mistakes.
It’s important to consider multiple points to start out from, but also sometimes to just let things come to you instead of racking your brain.
Everyone has to find a balance between control, patience and calm for themselves. The only important thing is to keep analyzing as well as listening to yourself.
This may all sound very exhausting and time-consuming, but once you have changed your lifestyle and made it your everyday life, it will quickly become normal and the analyzing and letting go will happen all by themselves.
Patience lets you live in the present and enjoy the moment without worrying. You become aware of how you feel and appreciate not only the big events in life, but also the small pleasures and successes. What’s more, you won’t compare yourself to others so often anymore. Instead, you’ll know that everyone needs their own time to learn or overcome certain things, and this strengthens your self-esteem to boot.
Quotes about patience
Patience has been a virtue for thousands of years. As such, numerous scholars have already spoken of the value of patience and the benefits that come with possessing this skill. We have collected some examples for you that may perhaps motivate you to work on your patience.
- "Our patience will achieve more than our force." (Edmund Burke)
- "He who says patience, says courage, endurance, strength." (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach)
- "True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation." (George Washington)
- "Endure and persist; this pain will turn to good by and by." (Ovid)
- "Time heals all wounds." (Voltaire)
- "A lack of patience in trifling matters might lead to the disruption of a great project." (Confucius)
- "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." (Leo Tolstoy)
- "One minute of patience, ten years of peace." (Greek proverb)
- "Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far." (Swahili proverb)
- "To lose patience is to lose the battle." (Mahatma Gandhi)
These sayings show that patience can be the key to success in many instances. Whether it is a matter of fostering friendships, overcoming great misfortune or finding the path to professional success – you can always benefit from patience, so it is often worth taking the time to wait instead of acting hastily.