How to be More Patient: 25 Tips for Increasing Patience in All Parts of Life

Learning patience is associated with a variety of benefits. Explore easy and effective ways on how to be more patient in this complete guide!

Patience is a virtue, but it can also be a medicine. People who know how to practice patience enjoy fewer negative emotions, feel less depressed, and are more satisfied with their lives. Further, patient people may also benefit from a range of health advantages, such as:

  • Better sleep
  • Fewer headaches
  • Better skin
  • Fewer ulcers
  • Less diarrhea
  • Fewer bouts of pneumonia

Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of these benefits? After all, it seems that patience could be the secret to health and happiness.

Yet, too few of us actually practice patience, let alone know how to be patient. In this age of instant gratification, we’re so used to getting what we want when we want it. We can receive shipments same-day, get a meal in less than thirty minutes, and binge-watch our favorite TV show in a mere weekend.

Patience is critical for a well-functioning society, but we all need to get better at it. That’s why we’re bringing you this guide to the top 25 tips for improving your patience.

You’ll learn what being patient is and isn’t, how to use patience at work and in college, and suggestions for being more patient in your day-to-day life.

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Are you ready to start improving your patience and putting it into practice in your life? Then let’s get started!

Here are our best strategies and tips to help you develop patience in every aspect of life:

1. Understand What Patience Is and Isn’t

We all know that patience is a good thing. We’ve heard it since early childhood from our mothers, fathers, teachers, and coaches. But do you know what having patience actually means?

At its most basic level, patience is the ability to wait. But, more than that, it’s the ability to wait for something you really want or even need. And we also define patience as waiting for that thing without expressing irritation or frustration.

But let’s dive deeper into the concept of patience. Psychologist Sarah Schnitker has made a career out of studying patience. According to her research, there are actually three distinct types of patience:

  1. Interpersonal patience
  2. Patience in Life Hardships
  3. Patience for Daily Hassles

Interpersonal patience refers to our ability to be patient with other people. This type of patience is especially important for relationships, in the workplace, and when interacting with young children.

Life hardship patience is a type of long-term patience we need when we deal with a significant setback in life. Another word for this type of patience is perseverance. Perseverance is critical in our personal lives, but it’s also useful for long-term goal setting at work or in school.

Finally, daily hassle patience is the ability to stay calm through life’s little irritations. Whether it’s keeping your cool in bad traffic or getting through a tedious task at work, practicing this type of patience can help improve nearly all aspects of your life.

2. Learn to Be a Good Listener

One of the best ways to learn how to be more patient is to improve your listening skills. This tip is an excellent way to increase your interpersonal patience skills.

Do you often find yourself waiting for someone to end what they’re saying so that you can speak your piece? Unfortunately, this quality isn’t uncommon. But it does mean you may not be as patient a listener as you could be.

Failing to show patience while listening can lead the other party to feel disconnected from you. If you’re more concerned with what you’re going to say than what the other person is saying, they may feel unheard or, worse, unimportant.

Instead, you could try to truly listen to the other person. No matter how mundane the subject, try to understand what they are saying.

When it’s time to respond, offer a response that shows you’ve listened to the other person and have something thoughtful to add or ask.

Related Read: How to Stop Procrastinating? 10+ Expert Tips to Kick the Habit for Good

3. Accept What You Can’t Change

Accepting things that are out of their control is another commonality among people who know how to have patience. This tip is helpful for all kinds of patience but especially for life hardship and daily hassle patience.

A lot of times, feeling impatient happens because we want something to change immediately. But practicing acceptance can help us feel at peace in negative situations while we wait for that change to happen.

A good tip for practicing acceptance is to adjust your expectations. Look at the facts available to you and recognize which of these factors you can control. Then, you can change what you have control over and let go of the things you don’t.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an important exercise in all aspects of our lives and for all types of patience. But what exactly is mindfulness? Being mindful means you live in the present moment without judgment for your thoughts or surroundings.

Try practicing mindfulness when you need to accept a situation that you have to be patient about. Here’s how:

  • You can close your eyes or keep them open
  • Without changing your breathing pattern, turn your attention to your breaths
  • Simply notice the way your breath flows in and out of you, not judging your movements
  • If a thought or external stimulus causes your attention to shift from your breath, note it without judgment
  • Return your attention to your breathing and repeat

Related Read: How to Calm Anxiety: 12+ Tips for Dealing With Anxiety & Stress Situations

5. Slow Down

We all live fast lives— we have deadlines for our payments and turnaround times for our work projects. Yet, when we take the time to slow down, we can be more mindful and patient. And, we might even be able to live longer, in fact!

In a study published in the AMA Journal back in 2003, researchers found that 18- to 30-year-olds who feel impatient and feel frustrated have a higher chance of higher blood pressure in their later years. The body seems to release stress hormones to prepare for a stressful situation, which can subsequently increase weight, blood pressure, and even blood sugar.

So, how can we slow down and live our daily lives in the current moment?

One way to do this is to fake it ’til you make it. Research shows that pretending to be patient can actually make you feel more patient. So, slow down your actions and speech, take a deep breath, and you might just feel more capable of waiting it out.

6. Identify What Triggers Your Impatience

We’ve talked a lot about patience so far but very little about its opposite— impatience. Sometimes, we can’t always stop impatience from rising up. So, we should instead try to prevent ourselves from getting into these aggravating situations in the first place.

How do you do that? First, you need to identify your impatience triggers.

Start by thinking about the times your impatience has reared its ugly head. Then, write down these instances and see if you can find any common themes.

For example, do you often get impatient when colleagues don’t get back to you in time? You might also notice that these instances of impatience occur most commonly when you have a big project due soon.

If this is the case, you can set yourself up for future success. Reach out to your colleagues earlier in your project timeline. That way, you won’t have to wait around on them to finalize your work before the deadline.

7. Get Comfortable Feeling Uncomfortable

Waiting around for something you really want or need doesn’t feel good. For many of us, waiting can be downright uncomfortable. And this discomfort often results in feeling impatient.

How do you fix this?

You can increase your tolerance for uncomfortable waiting periods by making yourself wait more often. That might sound counterintuitive, but, if you think about it, you can really become a more patient person.

Related Read: 15 Great Benefits of Learning a Second Language

8. Keep a Journal

Writing forces us to slow down our thoughts, and that’s (one reason) why journaling is useful. And as we’ve mentioned, feeling rushed is often a big trigger for impatience. You could use creative writing, bullet journaling, calendar journaling, or non-fiction journaling to help boost your patience.

Journaling is particularly helpful for tracking your progress over time. Learning patience can be a long journey, and you may get discouraged. Having a record of how far you’ve come can keep you focused and motivated. To help you get started with this patience-inducing practice, check out our best journaling tips and inspiring journaling prompts!

9. Understand the Symptoms of Feeling Impatient

You know the feeling when impatience crops up: you sweat and clench your fists. Your mood changes, making you feel anxious, frustrated, or even angry. All of these are physical or emotional symptoms of impatience.

The good news is that understanding your emotions and impatience symptoms can help you mitigate them. Here’s how.

When you feel the physical manifestations of impatience, try to relax. For example, unclench your fists, roll your shoulders, and take a few deep breaths. Counting to 10 while practicing some deep breathing techniques is also an old trick to reduce stress that definitely helps here.

The emotional symptoms of feeling impatient can be even easier to combat. You may not be in control of your environment, but you are in control of the way you respond to it.

Try to see the silver lining in the uncomfortable situation. You may just find yourself feeling more able to deal with it.

10. Stop Multitasking

Contrary to what many self-help enthusiasts claim, multitasking is not, in fact, a good thing. At least not often. Proponents of multitasking say that this strategy can help you get more done, save precious time, and achieve your dreams.

The reality is that when we try to prioritize too many tasks, we spread ourselves too thin. There’s no possible way for us to give equal attention to each task. So, something ends up falling to the wayside.

Multitasking can also force us to move too quickly from one task to another. We might then expect others to move quickly with us. Forcing others around us to rush is a form of interpersonal impatience, and it can put a bad taste in others’ mouths about you.

Related Read: How to Take Initiative: Definition & Complete Guide for Career & Education

11. Utilize Time Management

A big trigger of impatience is feeling like we don’t have enough time in the day, especially when dealing with daily hassles. One way to avoid this trigger is to become a better time manager.

Time management means using your time wisely. There are thousands of resources on improving your time management skills. And you’ll see the benefits from not only increased patience but also a better work/life balance.

12. Take a Break

What do you do if time management doesn’t make you feel in any less of a rush? Sometimes, feeling like you’re always in a hurry and impatient means you need a break.

Hurry sickness is a non-life-threatening condition people can develop when they go non-stop. If you don’t take a break when you need one, hurry sickness could develop into burnout.

On the opposite side of things, taking a break might mean you need more physical activity. For example, if you’re a WFH employee or desk-bound student, getting some exercise in and your heart rate up may just be the break you need when you feel stressed and frustrated.

13. Practice Optimism

Do you experience a major shift in mood when you have to be patient? We’ve already mentioned mindfulness and journaling, which can help with the bodily sensations and physical symptoms of impatience. But what about the emotional symptoms?

When you feel frustration arise, try to practice optimism. It’s easy to get into a negative mindset, especially when you feel uncomfortable. Trying to find the positives in daily annoyances can help you feel more patient and less stressed.

Related Read: List of 100+ Best Icebreaker Questions & Conversation Starters

14. Seek Out Support

Humans are social creatures. We get a lot of gratification from leaning on people we can trust. This fact is no different when we’re struggling with patience.

Having a trusted friend, partner, family member, or colleague we can turn to when our impatience gets the best of us can help us feel better. But keep in mind that seeking out support doesn’t equal complaining.

In fact, studies have found that complaining about a negative event can actually make us feel worse.

Instead, we should try to use our support system to brainstorm how we can make things better. This strategy can help increase patience and resilience at work and in life.

15. Try Therapy

Not all of us are lucky enough to have trusted friends or colleagues who can listen and give us good advice. That’s when a therapist or career coach can come in handy.

Professionals like these can help you identify your triggers when you’re feeling impatient. They can give you customized tips to build your patience.

Plus, therapy can help you learn about the deep-seated traumas that may be exacerbating your impatience. Then, they can teach you coping mechanisms to help.

16. Work on Your Emotional IQ

Academic performance isn’t the only type of intelligence out there. Emotional IQ is a key type of intelligence that leaders, in particular, need to master to be effective.

The five features of emotional intelligence are:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation or self-control
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

Related Read: 7 Best Online Safety Tools and Privacy Settings to Keep Yourself Protected

17. Eat a Healthy Diet

Believe it or not, nutrition can have an impact on your ability to be patient. Patience is a type of impulse control. The brain regulates impulse control and nutrition, which, in turn, affects cognitive function.

In fact, a 2017 study on rats found that calorically-dense diets can increase impulsivity. Caloric density refers to foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. When taken off the high-fat, high-sugar diet, this effect reversed— the rats were more capable of practicing self-control.

18. Take Up a Patience-Centric Sport

Practicing patience doesn’t have to be all hard work. You can make it fun with a sport that rewards you for perseverance. Playing sports that encourage waiting can be particularly helpful for building life hardship patience.

Fishing, golf, and baseball are fun sports that require patience. Hunting is another activity many people enjoy, and this sport definitely requires perseverance.

Not a fan of sports? Watching a baseball game or keeping your favorite golfer company can also improve your ability to wait calmly.

19. Read More

On average, only about 45% of people are willing to read for more than fifteen seconds. And the decline in reading is correlated with the rise in our culture’s collective impatience.

This is why reading more can help you practice and improve your patience. Try starting with a shorter article or novella before working your way up to longer books.

The only rule for this activity? Don’t cheat by flipping to the end of the book to satisfy your curiosity immediately! Make sure you are reading with full comprehension, and immerse yourself in the story or report rather than just wanting to get it over with so you can cross it off your reading list.

Related Read: How To Be Successful in College: 17 Great Tips to Achieve Success at Uni

20. Recognize the Communal Benefits of Patience

Do you need a little motivation to keep working on your patience? Then let’s discuss two of the greatest social benefits of being patient.

First of all, patience can make you a better friend and coworker. Patient people tend to have more empathy, be more selfless, and offer forgiveness more easily. We’re more accepting of the people around us, which makes life easier for both parties.

Secondly, patience makes you a better friend to yourself. Being patient helps you wait for results and payoffs, even when they don’t come immediately. This ability can go a long way in helping you achieve long-term goals and dreams.

21. Try Delaying Gratification

The human brain is hard-wired to seek out rewards. What’s more, we’re often conditioned from childhood to expect immediate results. If we cried, our parents would give us a piece of candy to make us stop; if we got $5 to spend, we spent it immediately.

However, instant gratification isn’t actually good for us. Delaying gratification teaches us to save for retirement and wait for the best house to come on the market.

But how can we get better at delayed gratification and, therefore, patience? Here are some tips:

  • Create wishlists instead of adding items to your cart when shopping online
  • Read for a designated amount of time before allowing yourself to watch TV each night
  • Design positive distractions for yourself (e.g., playing games, visiting a new place, etc.) while you’re waiting for your reward

22. Learn to Be Comfortable With Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance refers to people’s discomfort with holding two contradictory ideas at once. For example, you feel like traffic shouldn’t be so bad on a Monday afternoon, but traffic is, indeed, bad.

The main side effect of cognitive dissonance is increased stress levels. That’s why you feel so irritated when dealing with daily stressors. However, if you can get more comfortable with cognitive dissonance, you may feel both less stress and more capable of being patient.

Related Read: How to Improve Handwriting: 10 Great Tips to Up Your Handwriting Skills

23. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

We’ve already talked about how mindfulness can improve patience. But one thing we haven’t discussed is how taking your life seriously at all times can hinder your ability to be mindful.

Learning to take yourself and life less seriously isn’t too difficult, either. Take moments to be playful and childlike throughout the day and try to find humor in difficult situations. These tips can help you live a freer life and have more patience along the way.

24. Practice Empathy

Did you know that interpersonal patience is a sign of empathy? Better yet, practicing empathy can improve your communication skills and interpersonal patience.

Psychologists define empathy as the ability to understand and feel what others are feeling. Empathy can help you understand that not everyone moves or thinks as fast as you do.

Empathy also gives you the insight that everyone sees from a different perspective and may, for instance, need more time to express their ideas and feelings.

25. Know When Patience Isn’t Helpful

We hope this article has taught you the virtues of patience. However, this wouldn’t be a complete guide without discussing the pitfalls of having too much patience.

When we’re too patient with others, we may end up sacrificing our own needs. Worse, people who consistently stretch their patience to the limits can become pushovers. This issue can be particularly impactful if you show high levels of interpersonal patience.

Additionally, delaying gratification for too long or too often also has negative effects. Polls show that people who put off rewards feel more dissatisfied than those who showcase moderate levels of delayed gratification. Further, delaying rewards for too long can lead to side effects like procrastination.

As with everything in life, moderation is key to maximizing the benefits and reducing the downsides of patience and delayed gratification.

Related Read: How to Improve Posture: 10 Exercises for Young Adults

Wrapping Up on Learning How to Be Patient

We hope this guide has given your some actionable tips on how to be patient. That way, you can take advantage of the health benefits of patience.

However, always remember that moderation is key. You should never sacrifice your own needs for the sake of being patient with others.

Also, don’t think reducing how often you lose patience is something that will happen overnight. Be patient as your learn patience!

Got any questions, feedback, or more tips on how to be more patient at home, work, school, or with the people you love? Let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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