How to Be More Patient

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Someone who is described as "patient" can often endure stressors, annoyances, and delays while remaining calm.

We live in an age where we expect instant gratification from everything. Packages must be delivered within 24 hours, and meals at a restaurant need to arrive within 30 minutes. As a result, many people have developed shorter attention spans and have grown more impatient as a result.

There are many benefits of learning to be more patient. High up on the list is that it reduces your stress levels. When you are impatient, you tend to get more worked up than typical, and impatience does little to fix the situation you are frustrated about.

If you find yourself feeling impatient very often and even in trivial situations, you may want to learn how to be more patient.

Here are some ways you can learn to cultivate more patience:

  • Test your patience with smaller tasks
  • Identify triggers
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Slow down
  • Practice acceptance

Read on for a more in-depth look at these tips.

How to Be More Patient 

While some people seem to have an unlimited fountain of patience to tap from, you might struggle to be more patient. The good news is that it’s a character skill that can be learned with time and practice.

Below are a few ways to start.

Start Small

Becoming more patient is a journey, and you can start it with small steps. Take a slightly longer route on your walk home, wait a bit and appreciate the aroma of your food before diving into a meal you love.

Practice with things that will typically test your patience, like starting and finishing a giant jigsaw puzzle. 

By doing these things, you’ll develop the character traits of a patient person.

Know Your Triggers 

If you are not a typically impatient person, try to identify the things, places, or people that trigger your impatience.

Knowing your triggers will help you take better charge of a situation the next time you find yourself bristling with impatience.

For example, maybe you grow impatient when you see a long line at your favorite coffee shop. You can choose another time to go when you know it'll be less busy or you can place a mobile order so that you can run into the shop quickly to grab your items.

Be More Mindful 

Practicing mindfulness daily can help you become a more patient person. In a 2017 study, researchers found that practicing mindfulness during a stressful waiting period helped participants manage their expectations more effectively. Mindfulness helps you appreciate being in the moment, whether it’s spending time with loved ones or sitting in slow-moving traffic.

If you are unsure where to begin, you can start by paying attention to your breathing:

  1. Take deep, steadying breaths
  2. Pay attention to what draws your focus away from your breath
  3. Gently draw attention back to your breathing if you get distracted
  4. Repeat as needed

Do this for as long as you are comfortable with it. You can start with five minutes and work your way up.

Slow Down 

Slowing things down when appropriate can help you build patience. Not every activity needs to be done instantly or hurriedly. Take stock of the aspects in your life you can afford to slow down.

Waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning? Try enjoying the process instead of tapping your foot impatiently or rushing off to do another task. 

Practice Acceptance 

A tenet to live by is accepting things that are out of your control. If you are sitting in a traffic jam, there’s little you can do to get out of it. Instead of getting frustrated, try accepting your situation and making the best of it.

You could either observe the cars around you, or you can play some music in your car. You might even want to call up a friend.

Characteristics of Patient People 

Knowing the character traits of a patient person as compared to an impatient person can give you better insight into what learned behaviors could help you become a more patient person. It can also help you realize what behaviors to unlearn. 

Patient People
  • Doesn’t mind waiting when things take time 

  • Tries to understand why a task is taking too long 

  • Remains calm when delayed

  • Makes calculated decisions

  • Even-tempered and typically slow to anger 

  • Are good listeners

Impatient People
  • Wants things done at a lighting speed

  • Puts pressure on other people to perform tasks that are seemingly taking too long

  • Gets annoyed and frustrated when delayed

  • May sometimes make rash decisions

  • Can be short-tempered

  • May not take time to listen

Benefits of Being More Patient 

A great incentive for you to become a more patient person is to think of the wealth of benefits of being patient. High up on the list is that it reduces your stress levels. When you are patient, getting worked up at the slightest inconvenience becomes more difficult.

Other benefits of being patient include: 

  • Increased gratification: Taking time to wait for the things that matter to you or bring you joy can lead to increased gratification. In a 2014 study, researchers found that people were more likely to derive lasting happiness waiting for experiences. So, the next time you are in a long line for the Ferris wheel at a theme park, remember that waiting can sweeten the experience. 
  • Lower your stress levels: You are more likely to become stressed when you are impatient; you feel more frantic, which results in you feeling more stressed. Slowing down and learning to wait can help reduce your stress levels.
  • You become more present: You don’t realize how much of life you miss out on when you hurry from task to task and place to place. Becoming more patient helps you be more present to enjoy the things you love, like a steaming cup of coffee in the morning or quality time with your loved ones. 
  • You make better decisions: You are more likely to make a mistake when you hurry to make a decision. Being patient and taking time to analyze a decision from every angle will help you make better decisions. 

Potential Pitfalls of Being Impatient 

You’ve just read about the benefits of being more patient. On the flip side of this are the potential pitfalls of being impatient. Learning more about the disadvantages of impatience can motivate you to become a more patient person.

Some of these disadvantages include:

  • You become more stressed: When you are impatient, your body will likely respond as if it’s stressed and release stress hormones into your system. If you are often stressed, you can develop chronic stress, which has been linked to the development of several medical conditions. 
  • Poor decision-making: Rushing into decisions that should take time to process may cause you to make poor decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why am I impatient?

    Impatience is highly individual. What triggers your impatience might not trigger the next person's. To find out what triggers your impatience, keep a journal. Make a small note every time you become exasperated when in a line or when you are short with a colleague or friend. Research shows that becoming more patient can help you better pursue your goals and lead to greater satisfaction even when facing difficulties.

  • How can I be more patient with myself?

    You are often your biggest critic. This is why you tend to be short with yourself when you feel like you might be falling behind in life. All the reasons for being more patient with others apply to you too. To be patient with yourself, start by remembering you are not perfect. Some things take time, and mistakes will be made along the way.

  • How can I be more patient with my children?

    Communication is key to becoming more patient with your children. Situations that are likely to trigger your impatience such as tantrums can be defused with open communication. By being patient with your children, you can help them also become more patient. Research shows patient children are less angry and exhibit self-regulatory behaviors as they age.

  • How can I help my partner become more patient?

    Communicating with a partner who isn't patient can be challenging. However, it's key to helping them become more patient. Listen to what they have to say and try not to react immediately. Give them the space to vent before communicating how and why you may find their behavior frustrating. With an impatient partner, continually exhibiting patience is a great strategy to get them to become more patient. If communicating does not work, it may be time to enlist the help of a couple's therapist.

A Word From Verywell 

If you’ve not been the most patient person in the past, you should know that patience needs time and practice. As you start on this journey to becoming more patient, you shouldn’t feel bad when you find yourself fuming at a delayed order or getting worked up because your Uber is late. Count to three and remind yourself of the importance of being more patient. 

7 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.