Indian businessman with briefcase looking at watch

Struggle with impatience, and want to improve this character flaw–for a lower blood pressure, greater peace of mind, and a more pleasant impression of you by those around you?  Try these practical tips:

  1. Figure out the root of why you are impatient when you are experiencing it. As soon as you get aggravated, ask yourself Why? Is it a selfish reason? In fact, keep asking Why four more times to really figure out the root.
  2. Pinpoint triggers that influence you to lose your cool. People? Events? Circumstances? Phrases people say? And, especially, what’s the reality of life that you are having a hard time accepting? Look for patterns and decide what you must simply accept or what you can do something about. Think Serenity Prayer (and post it).
  3. Journal for 2 weeks and write down any feelings of impatience, along with the circumstances surrounding it. For instance, “I got angry in the grocery store long line because I was running late for my appointment because I didn’t figure in my travel time yet again.”
  4. Practice deep breathing and other relaxation exercises upon the onset of irritation, to settle yourself down so that you do not vent one someone else nor ruin the next experience.
  5. Start to change to a more patient overall attitude by telling yourself calmly, “Let it go. Just let it go.” Your belief controls your behavior. Talk yourself off the cliff.
  6. Remember what matters most, and it usually isn’t what is bugging you at the moment. When you are acting impatient, you are most likely not behaving true to yourself and your values. When living in congruence with your values, you are empowered to live with more joy and peace–and to not make molehills into mountains.
  7. Shift impatient thoughts into optimistic ones. Developing a more positive outlook on everything snaps you out of being Grumpy-pants and spiraling down into how everything is just bad. This takes discipline to train your brain to look for the silver lining in every cloud, even if microscopic to you right now.
  8. Accept bumps in the road as gracefully as possible. I don’t like turbulence when I fly, but I’ve been told to just tell my brain that it’s a bumpy road in my car. Phrases like “whatever” or “it is what it is” can acknowledge the negative situation, but then start to shift to the next action that IS within your control to turn the situation around.

It’s a slow process, especially if you have a Type A personality. So, acknowledge every patient response as a small victory!

Do you have some keeper ideas to add to these? Contact me on Facebook at Growing Forward Services or at Paul D. Casey on LinkedIn.