Many of us can relate to the fact that our world is chalked full of uncertainties right now. Whether it be in our careers, relationships, or state of the world, it’s normal to feel a sense of uncertainty. This can lead us to want to find solid ground quickly and surely, even if it means we make choices that are unclear or rushed.
Outside of uncertainty, we also tend to live in a culture that desires instant gratification. We want things right away, and if we can’t have them, we often start to lose interest or move onto something else that might bring that instant gratification. Just take a moment now to reflect on that idea alone: when was the last time you found yourself becoming inpatient about something? What thoughts did you have? How did you feel in your body?
I recall just the other day, opening up an article I wanted to read, it took about 4 seconds as it was loading, and my reaction was to hit the back button and look for a different article about the subject I was looking into. 4 seconds? I was 4 seconds into waiting for information that could have helped me and I moved on? Perhaps we should expect information in half a second these days, or perhaps we should be able to wait those 4 second – either way, it’s important we have the freedom to choose and not allow those reactions to be so automatic.
Why? Because today it might be about a website loading, but tomorrow it might be about much more important things that we simply don’t have the patience to properly assess because we have be trained into procedural memory by all the ‘smaller things’ in life.
For me, when I stopped and thought about why I rushed away from that website after only 4 seconds, I noted that my jaw was clenched, I was in my head and operating in a rush.
For us to be in a flow, create well, think clearly and make balanced decisions, it’s very helpful to be more present. When we find ourselves in our heads, rushed and impatient, we might note that we’re losing energy throughout the day, becoming more and more drained as time goes on. Yet when we are in our flow, we tend to have more energy for things, things don’t feel as ‘up and down’ and we experience a lot more joy.
This is primarily because we are more present and our body experiences greater synchronization between major systems and organs including the brain, nervous system, and heart. With greater synchrony comes more efficiency, and in essence our body isn’t in conflict with itself, but instead is moving in one direction. This creates rhythm and flow.
Think of the mother or father who loses their patience because of something their child is doing, what emotions tend to rise? Anger, frustration, or irritation perhaps. The energy of that person begins to change, as does body language, tone of voice and their decisions. In fact, sometimes people end up saying things they don’t mean or later regret as a result – why? This happens because the more we become irritated or frustrated, the more our physiological state changes and we begin to lose access to our higher thinking (prefrontal cortex) causing us to act more on procedure and emotion vs. based on connection, patience, and higher understanding.
Now, we’re always going to have moments where ‘we lose it’ from time to time, but how often does that have to be? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Perhaps it only needs to happen a few times a year? Why do some of us seems so cool and level headed in some situations, aka more patient, while others lose patience much more quickly? There are, most likely, many reasons, and each of us might have to ask ourselves that question based on our own experience to get an answer. But what we do know is we can all become more patient with simply practice and intention.
With more patience comes less frustration, less problematic choices, and less stress, while increasing flow and energy.
To build greater patience is not some magical skill you must find, it’s simply to become more present and self aware. It’s truly something that is within anyone’s grasp.
How To Build More Patience
Next time you are waiting for something or are in traffic and a sense of unease, bring your focus to your body. We’ve all felt the benefits of how a massage loosens up our muscles, in that same breath, take a moment and notice where there is tension in your body. Jaw, shoulders, hands, pelvis, and release it.
Make a forward facing effort to feel ease in your body. What does it feel like to feel ease? When was there a moment you can remember that you would describe as feeling ease? If you take some time to feel that ease, or even relive that moment of feeling ease, you are bringing that feeling to your body now and moving out of the automatic response of impatience.
You don’t have to ‘meditate’ or close your eyes or do anything special to do this, you simply are becoming aware of how you feel, what emotions might be playing out and the state of your body, and you are doing something to choose how you want to feel.
So to recap:
- Notice you are feeling impatient and how that feels. Accept it.
- Release tension in your body, take about 60 seconds to go through your body and do this.
- Notice what it feels like to feel a sense of ease and calm, feel that feeling in your body and let it grow.
- Go on with the next few hours being in this state. Come back to this awareness and repeat if you have to.
Note, we are not running from any feelings of frustrations or irritation here. These aren’t “BAD” things that we don’t want to acknowledge. Instead, we are bringing ourselves to a state where we might be able to more closely examine why we felt this way to begin with. Was it something small, petty and not worth losing energy over? With simple awareness will this pattern of feeling this way diminish? Or perhaps you recognize something happened that made you feel irritation or frustration and you need to express something to take an action, either way, you are now in a clear space to asses and make effective decisions vs operating from a draining space where clarity is more difficult to come by.
The more this is practiced, the more it becomes your everyday state of being.