7 Ways To Become More Patient Rather Than Constantly Seek Instant Gratification

by Anne K. Halle

No one likes waiting in line; it seems like every moment that ticks by happens at an extra slow pace.

I recently heard a comedian do a segment about standing in line at the grocery store. “HURRY UP!” he yelled, explaining his frustration with waiting for 20 minutes, “I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE SO I CAN GO HOME AND DO NOTHING!”

We make a big deal about waiting, but for the most part, we are in a rush for no reason. Sometimes, we are in a rush to get somewhere — to make an appointment, get to work on time, make a flight, etc.

But, most often when there’s a line involved, we are not anxious about waiting because of a crucial deadline. We simply just don’t like waiting.

Patience can be challenging. The NOW-Generation has this moniker for a reason. We demand high-speed everything. We can’t go five minutes without checking our numerous social media platforms.

Our phones have not only become virtual extensions of our footprints that direct where we’ve been, but they have promoted a decrease in our ability to concentrate. Instead of simply listening in a meeting or lecture, we can now also check our email, text our friends, check the news and god forbid, play Candy Crush.

Many of us are unaware of our impulsiveness. We hurry to get things done — to move onto the next task, to get as many things done in one day as possible. Demand for productivity is good, but also includes some detriments. Doing things too quickly can lead to mistakes and not having the best possible product.

Those who seem to be patient in nearly everything they do are either deeply virtuous or deeply oblivious to the concept of time. Sometimes, we have patience with others, but often lack it for ourselves — and vice versa. Here are seven things we should do to become more patient:

1. Limit how much you check online media.

If you’re like me, you probably check your Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media way too often per day. It has truly become a form of social addiction.

How often do you get a Facebook notification, text or email, compared to how often you check for them? We not only check social media way too much, but we also think about checking it too much. Tally how often you check Facebook in one day.

Then, set a goal for how many times you want to check it: twice a day, once every other day, once a week, etc. Work your way up to your goal and try to stick to it.

Breaking the mental association for wanting to impulsively check social media too often will result in actually checking it less.

2. Underwhelm your schedule.

Many of us book our schedules so that we have something planned for nearly every hour in our week. Instead of having too much to do — or complaining about your busy schedule — leave time in your week for unplanned hours.

Underwhelming yourself may relieve some of the anxiety you feel due to always having to make your next meeting, appointment, etc. Just because others are always busy doesn’t mean you have to be, too.

3. Learn to mono-task.

Many of us have lost the capability to simply do one thing at a time. It may not be completely our fault, due to the demands of society (most notably, in the workplace), but we should learn to mono-task a bit more.

Focus on one thing, and then move on to another thing (rather than simultaneously trying to do many things at once). Multi-tasking is a good skill, but it should not come at the expense of overwhelming ourselves.

4. Stop thinking about the time you don’t have and focus on the time you do have.

This is the best way to not feel rushed and to remain patient, no matter the circumstances. Counting down can often lead to greater anxiety for not completing tasks.

If you willingly tell yourself that you have all of the time in the world (even if you may not), you may eliminate the impulsive mentality. What’s the worst that could happen if you do run out of time? Unless the result of running out of time is fatal to you or someone else, don’t get too worked up about it.

5. Remember to breathe.

Everyone has different (and hopefully positive) coping mechanisms for stress. I find that simply breathing deeply — imagining the fresh air filling my lungs and then releasing it — is an effective method.

I use this activity to reset my mind. I usually do it in combination with breathing. It is a form of quick mediation that may work for some people.

6. Be mindful of your tendencies for impulsiveness and learn how to eliminate them.

What are you most impulsive about? For what things do you simply have no patience? Answering these questions may be the first step for eliminating impulsive action. Mindfulness is the key to patience.

Upon feeling frustrated, we should all identify personal methods for finding sentience in the moment. It could be breathing; it could be taking a five-minute break; it could be another cup of coffee; it could be walking outside for a few minutes. Anything that works for you will help you.

7. Focus on the present.

It is impossible to recreate the past and the future will only manifest with time. Thus, the present is all we really have. Doing well in the present and allowing it to be the main focus is how we can grow in patience.

Many of us remain trapped in thinking about the past — our mistakes, how it was better than life is now — but the past is gone and only exists in our memories.

Some of us are so anxious about the future that we often project upon it. It’s good to think about what we want in the future, but if we make it our focus, we will fail to enjoy the now. Remain present and the worry will disappear.

American culture tends to breed workaholics (alongside alcoholics). Work is good, but too much work can be destructive. Young people are often pressured to succeed early — some of us more than others, depending on how we were raised.

We are in a mad rush to start our careers, yet we somehow forget that we have our whole lives to work. So, why are we in such rush? Besides, given how things are going with Medicare, by the time Generation-Y reaches a retirement age, the qualification age will probably be 89.

Learning to have more patience relieves anxiety. We take for granted the fast technology, quick meals and quick service in a way that the older generations simply do not understand.

We are taught that time is money. We are often measured by how quickly we can get things done. But, there is no harm in savoring some moments. We can be efficient and patient.

Impulse does not have to drive our work. Efficiency can, or at least should, reflect the desire to do all things well. We must be patient and realize that some things just take time. Sometimes, the trials that test our patience the most will make us better in the long run.

What we want most will feel much better if it’s a long time coming. So, be patient! It is, after all, a virtue.

Photo via We Heart It