Wednesday, July 10, 2013

5 Steps To Achieve More Patience!

Yesterday I was going to post about patience but then ran out of time and decided to purposely "test" my patience so I would have more to contribute to the post. It worked! While spending a long day cleaning, mowing lawns, shuttling kids to and fro and, doing it all on a very hot and humid day, I was able to maintain my patience. I gave this post a great deal of thought throughout the day, and here is what I came up with!

1. Determine what/when/where/why you are impatient! Maybe you are impatient with your kids in the morning but no other time of day. Perhaps you are only impatient at work or while driving. Spend a few days really taking note of the people, times of day, or situations that cause you the most stress. You will be able to move on to step 2 if you know what makes you impatient.

2. Set yourself up for success whenever possible! Look for proactive solutions that will remove your impatience triggers. For example: If you know it is the morning rush that makes you most impatient, get up an hour earlier, or lay out the kids clothes the night before, or get a coffee pot with an auto start, etc. Your kids will think you hit your head when you are calm, cool and collected and not barking at them to hurry hurry hurry!

3. Set yourself up for acceptance when you fail! OK, so you won't always be proactive and set the clothes out the night before. Or even if you do set the clothes out, once in awhile something will happen to mess up your best intentions. When this happens, here is your plan: Take deep breaths, assess the situation, make peace with it, and then move forward. Give yourself a break, we are all humans and even the most enlightened of us will lose our patience sometimes. Step 4 will help you make peace when things are out of your control.

4. Take control of the situation by being in control of YOU! When things do get out of hand and your patience has run out, instead of globalizing about how bad everything has become, start to question yourself. Ask yourself a few questions that will help de-escalate the situation such as: Do I have any control over this situation? Will yelling or freaking out really make anyone move faster? Will swearing at the driver in front of me really make him turn? Recognize that you have no control over other people, only yourself. Anxiety, impatience, and stress are "brothers" and they lead to strained relationships, poor health, and disease; start to take steps to avoid them as much as possible! When you start to ask the right questions, you can reason with yourself about the situation.

5.  Surround yourself with patient people as often as possible.  The saying, "You are a product of your surroundings" is completely true.  If you are surrounded by other impatient people, you will tend to behave impatiently, as well.  Try moving to a different check out line or drive in the "slow lane" to avoid those impatient people around you.  Often times, it may be impractical to completely avoid impatient people (spouses, family members, coworkers, etc...).  Instead, try telling them how much better you feel when you practice patience.  Share these five steps with them so they can also experience it for themselves.

A few years ago, I decided to examine my own impatience.  I determined that I get most impatient in the morning when I am trying to get the day started. I had to get the kids fed and ready for school, make their lunches, write and post my blog, as well as, eat, shower, and get ready for my day. My impatience was in the form of rushing around and getting very frustrated at the kids for going too slow and I was often late for my job at the school. My proactive solutions were to start showering before bed, Thad took over making school lunches and I woke the kids up a little earlier. (The walks out to the bus stop were so much more relaxed and it became a really nice bonding time for me and my younger kids!) At that time, I was driving the teenagers, since I worked at their school. I informed them that my car was leaving the yard at a certain time and if they were not in it, I would leave without them. I was calm yet firm and put the responsibility on them rather than getting impatient every morning and trying to control their every move. My daughter, Madison, missed her ride to school twice and both times she called and begged me to drive home and get her but I refused and patiently explained that I was responsible for getting to work on time and could not accommodate her. (You have no idea how much stress this took off of me!) I could have gone in the bathroom and yelled at her as she showered to "hurry up, hurry up," but chances are she wouldn't have been able to go faster while someone was shouting at her. Nor would this have made either one of us feel very good about it.
Just be clear with your expectations, say what you mean and mean what you say, then follow through. When you can't control the situation, move forward knowing you have done what you said you were going to do and be grateful that you didn't lose patience. Other people will say, do, and think what they want, that is out of your control. A strong person controls him or herself and doesn't let the stress of a situation drive their emotions. Things will happen to test your patience and we can't always remain calm, but the more you do, the better you get at it.
Create healthy habits by practicing patience, set yourself up for success as much as possible and Live Inspired Now!

The stress caused by impatience can damage your relationships. Becoming more patient will take time and practice.  If you would like some extra support while learning to become more patient and stress free, please contact me today!

*Thank you to my amazing husband Thad Paris for helping me write this post!*

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