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Cultivating Patience for Better Mental Health

Cultivating Patience for Better Mental Health – We live in an age of instant gratification and constant connectivity, our expectations are that we will receive what we want and ask for quickly. This expectation can lead us to experience stress when things go wrong, when we experience hiccups or delays we can find ourselves frustrated and anxious.

This instant culture can also create a sense of urgency in how we respond to others. We know that people are expecting an instant reply to that email, just as we are. Or that package to be delivered next day, just as we are. This list can go on and on, and the pressure we put on ourselves to meet the expectations of others, not let them down and tick the boxes of providing a quick service can be very stressful. It can perpetuate a sense of urgency and emergency that isn’t real, that can have a knock on effect on our mental health.

These examples of when we might feel impatience, might seem small on their own, but we must remember that we are saturated in instant culture and for us the small annoyances and pressures can accumulate over time as we repeatedly get messages that we should receive what we request and provide things for others quickly, making being patient particularly difficult.

What are the benefits of patience?

Research has shown that cultivating patience can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing and your life in general.

1. Relief from depression: Long-term patience has been found to bring relief to depression

2. Better mental health: Patient people are more satisfied with life and less depressed. Patience over daily hassles seems to go along with good mental health

3. Improved emotional well-being: Patience can act as a barrier against stress and improve emotional wellness. It can also help in making calm and rational decisions

4. Better relationships: Patient people are better friends and neighbours. They are more likely to have better relationships with others

5. Achievement of goals: Patience helps in achieving goals. It can help in making better decisions and staying focused on long-term goals

Cultivating Patience for Better Mental Health

Cultivating patience would seem to have a beneficial impact on us below are 3 tips to cultivating patience

  1. Practice– deliberately practice something every day, or as often as possible, that will involve being patient with yourself. Ideas could include: relaxation techniques like mediation or yoga. They might also include learning a new skill, such as playing an instrument or a craft or hobby, or simply engaging with that hobby to practice your skill. Practicing patience through these activities will mean that you are experiencing things progressing and evolving and not being instantly available. Notice how you feel about these activities, do you feel more or less frustrated?
  2. Play with your expectations of yourself and others – experiment with giving yourself and other more time to complete something. For instance, if you feel that emails should be responded to immediately, give yourself a different expectation. Perhaps rather than a reply within a few hours, it could be 24 hours or 48 hours, or longer. Notice how you feel when you expand your expectations. Does your anxiety go up or down?
  3. Take a break from your devices – at the end of your fingertips are devices that epitomize instant gratification. Whilst they can be very useful but on the flip side they perpetuate the sense of urgency and anxiety. Urgency to respond and expect instant responses promote anxiety which is exacerbated by constant news and feedback alongside fear of missing out.

I am normally someone who isn’t very patient, I want results or responses quickly. I like to do things as quickly as possible, get them out of the way. This summer I decided to experiment with patience whilst completing a project in my garden. Normally I would want to get it done and finished in a few days. This time I experimented with working half an hour or less sometimes as short a time as 5 or 10 minutes on my project a few times a week. I found this incredibly hard to do, but I also discovered the benefits of doing things more slowly and taking my time. I realised that:

  • I found the job less overwhelming
  • I realised that if I took more time I could adapt and alter my plans along the way, this lead to a better outcome.
  • I enjoyed seeing the small steps of progress and this pushed me forwards to take the next step. I had time to research the best thing to do and consider what I wanted.
  • I discovered that I could be patient and the anxiety that I had that I would lose interest or motivation was unfounded, because I had given myself permission to take my time I enjoyed what I was doing and enjoyed the process of seeing something develop and grow.

If you are struggling with being patient and it is impacting your life, you might want to speak to a professional. Paul Carter is an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner as well as a counsellor and psychotherapist. If you are looking for support, call Paul Carter now to book an appointment or to discuss your issues further. At the moment, Paul is working online and in person. To make an appointment please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can.

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Cultivating Patience for Better Mental Health
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