A Simple and Fast Guide to Patience for Impatient People

Posted in Balanced Lifestyle, Balanced Mind and Soul | February 3, 2010 |

how to be patient

Image by ilyas c.

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.
Titus Maccius Plautus

You probably know those situations when you stand in line in a grocery store and there is a person (usually an old lady) in front of you who buys a ton of things and then gets about 100 coupons out of her pocket book. The girl (or a guy) at the cash register has to manually type in each of these coupon codes, figure out why about half of them do not work and explain to the lady why her bill is 10 cents higher than what she thought it would be. Oh, and don’t forget that she wants to write a check to pay for her groceries but she can’t find her glasses so you spend another 10 minutes standing in line and thinking of all possible torture that she deserves. Before you know it (actually you do know it because you look at the clock about every 2 seconds) you have wasted 20 minutes of your valuable time and now you are late, angry and infuriated.

Even the most patient people in the world would probably lose it in situations like this one. However, you do not have to. There are many more situations in our lives that require profound patience and I know it probably better than anybody else.

Last year was nothing but a test of patience for me and my husband. Besides from raising two toddlers (a task that requires enormous amounts of patience), we were waiting for an answer about the house that we’d put a bid on. We were ready to move on with our lives but we were stuck living with my in-laws and not knowing what future held for us. It wasn’t until 2010 that we finally got the house (actually the house that we bought is not the one that we’d placed a bid on.) I am very grateful for everything that happened in 2009 because it taught me the most important skill of all – PATIENCE.

There is more than one reason why you need patience. Of course you do not want to get mad in situations like the one I’ve described above or when you are stuck in traffic. You also want to take the most of your life and not spend all your time being frustrated and mad at situations that you cannot change. You also want to see results from your endeavors whether it is starting a new business, a blog or losing weight.

Patience is a skill that will pay off greatly because you will be able to find balance, happiness and success in your life. Actually I do not know how you can find these things without patience :-)

Our world is fast-paced and time is one of our most valuable resources. However, the next time that you want to see things going faster remember that the only fast thing in our life is failing because of an impatient decision. Climbing to the top always requires time and a lot of patience.
If you are ready to change yourself and learn patience then look through these tips that I have learned while looking for life balance:

  1. Identify your triggers. This is simple. Just find out when you get impatient so that you are ready for action. It’s like solving a mathematical word problem. Before you can come up with an equation and an answer you must know your data.
    Some people get impatient in traffic and lines and others are impatient with kids. Some might give up any new venture if it does not bring results within a few days (of course the guilty party will be a business partner or circumstances) and others will get mad every time that their request is not immediately fulfilled (the husband does not take trash out within 5 seconds and the kids do not clean their room in 10 minutes.)
  2. Become mindful. We are often impatient because we constantly think about the future instead of living in the present. If you become mindful of every moment of your life then you will be able to appreciate each of these moments. It does not matter whether you are standing in line or relaxing on the beach, just remember that your life is precious and you can’t waste it by getting mad.
  3. Fill your time. Try to think of things that you can do while waiting. Do not concentrate on the fact that you are late or that you are bored and you want everything to be fast. Stretch out while you are in a traffic jam and think of the most pleasant moments of your life while you are standing in line. Plan what you are going to fix for supper or think of a new post idea (apparently, this is something that I do a lot :-)) while you are waiting for somebody who is late or just fly away into you own dreamland. We get mad because we feel that our time is wasted but if you find something important to do then you won’t even notice how the time flies.
  4. Exercise your patience. Here is a simple yet powerful exercise to train your patience. Sit still for 10 minutes or more without doing anything. It is much harder than it seems at first because you will notice how impatient you will get after about a minute. You can also walk as slow as you possibly can to your car in the parking lot or try to eat your lunch at a much slower pace than usual, (this can actually help you lose some weight too if this is one of your goals.)
  5. Meditate. Meditation quiets your mind and teaches you patience. Try it as often as you can.
  6. Slow down. Most of us have very busy and fast-paced lives and we get impatient when the world is not moving at our speed. What if you are too fast for this world? Eliminate some of the unnecessary activities from your schedule, reset your goals and priorities and generally relax about life.
  7. Practice slow activities. The first time I tried Pilates I hated it because it seemed too slow and boring for me (I was used to kick-boxing, step and dancing.) However, as I continued exercising I noticed that my concentration and patience in general improved and now I can’t imagine my life without Pilates and Yoga. Apart from Body and Mind exercises you can also try slow activities like knitting, playing chess, painting, gardening or fishing (I personally can’t stand fishing though. It’s too boring for me but tastes differ :-)). Learn to appreciate the process of waiting and the result that you get in the end.
  8. Ask for patience. Depending on your spiritual beliefs you can choose to ask for patience. I can tell you that last year I was asking for patience a lot and I think that my prayers were heard because I got through the year without any nervous breakdowns. I also got everything I was patiently waiting for and I am extremely happy about it.
  9. Get a slow pet. You can always get a turtle and watch it every night and admire its patient way of life. I am sure that watching a turtle or a snail can put you in a very meditative state of mind and you will be able to learn the power of patience.
  10. Play games that develop patience. How about playing a Solitaire? Here is The Complete Book of Solitaire and Patience Games. Some other games that develop patience are different types of crossword puzzles (here are a few websites where you can try them – Japanese Crosswords , Crosswords and Sudoku at Washington Post)
  11. Count till 10 or 100. This tip is super easy and works every time. When you get mad and impatient in any situation just leave the room or just close your eyes and count till 10, 100 (somebody might even need a 1000 :-))
  12. Breathe. As always there is nothing better than the simple and pure power of breathing. Take a deep breath in and breathe out, once again. Now imagine that the tension in your entire body melts away and you are flowing softly in the stream of serenity. Continue breathing deeply. In and out, in and out. You can close your eyes and imagine that you are on the edge of the most amazing waterfall that carries away your impatience and tension and fills you with serenity, calmness and patience.

Do you need some patience n your life? Please tell me if any of these tips were helpful for you and if you have any of your own secrets that help you practice patience.

Keep it balanced and patient!

Smart Thoughts (35)

  1. Hey Ana,

    LOL that poor old lady, what must she be thinking!

    Great post and I love points 1 about the triggers and 2 about being mindful.

    The other points remind me of a post I wrote a long time ago called minute meditations and involved things you can do when standing in a queue!

    Clever title too!

    Love it!

    • Anastasiya says:

      Thank you Amit. When it comes to patience I think it is important to find the right advice at the right time. I wish I have found your post about a year ago :-)

    • Hector says:

      You can’t blame that “little ole lady”. She hasn’t gotten a social security raise, just like Fed Employees haven’t gotten a COLA, in what 3 years now?
      The coupons help her fill the gap. Just be thankful she is writing a check and not on food stamps, oh excuse me, SNAP, the politically correct term. Those SNAP debit cards never seem to work, Maybe cause there is no money left on them?

  2. lena says:

    I am actually a very patient person. I guess that is a part of a character and not like I have developed that enormous patience on my own. However there are situations when I can easily lose it and get all crazy about things being way slower than I have expected.

    But when I have to wait for a result which takes more time than expected I usually try utilizing my time with something else. Can be some serious thinking or silly games on facebook which require to repeat the same actions all the time.

    There is so much to do in life, that it would be stupid to waste time and energy on being angry about things being slow. It is all in the mind and one is always able to keep the mind occupied while waiting for something.

    • Anastasiya says:

      That is so true Lena. The anger and impatience are in your mind and nowhere else. Occupying your mind with any activity is the best way to handle slow days.

  3. Tom Owens says:

    Nice work, Anastasiya! Every one of your patient points is needed. Each observation comes to the mutual conclusion: often, the supposed “trigger” people aren’t guilty of any crimes. In fact, it’s not them. It’s US. Look inward for lasting change. That’s the only person we have any real hope of changing.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Hi Tom, you are absolutely right. We have unlimited powers to change only one person in this world – ourself. No matter what your problem with the outside world is you must first look inside of you and see how you can change yourself or your behavior to make YOUR life more balanced.

  4. Angelia Sims says:


    I really enjoyed this post on patience. I live in a very large city and there is lots of impatience all around me. Sometimes even for a very patient person like me, it can be infecting. Normally I tune out to my iPhone and next thing I know the situation has passed (except for driving that is).

    These are really GREAT tips. I am definitely going to check out the car Yoga. I love car dancing and I bet I love car Yoga too. :-)

  5. As one that seems to perpetually choose the slowest line, I find myself in this situation often. I usually try to apply the golden rule and/or place myself in their shoes momentarily. That old lady in the grocery store is probably not in any hurry at all. She has likely had plenty of rushing in her lifetime, and now has the luxury to take her time. She is likely writing a check because she doesn’t understand the technology or the process of using a debit card.

    It doesn’t always make me feel better (or more patient,) but sometimes it does.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Impatient people treat the world like everybody has to keep up with their pace and do everything on their time. There is nothing wrong with the old lady (like you’ve mentioned :-)) and she is doing what she is supposed to do in order to save money and feel comfortable shopping. It is just our perception of the situation and the impatient person is the one to blame here. I am glad that I am not that person and I do not have to rush through my life making fast and wrong decisions.
      Patience is one of the core principles of life balance in my opinion and I practice it as often as possible.

  6. Stetson says:

    The following is a technique that actually benefits a person when one is stuck in a line or in traffic.

    It has been shown that thinking in a positive direction about attracting good luck or karma, and saying certain internal phrases will trigger universal laws of which we are not aware. It is suspected it may have something to do with cosmic quantum entanglement.

    Over time, I’ve tried this simple technique, and, lo and behold, good fortune that I would not have believed could happen to me, did in fact take place. I was not a particularly lucky person before beginning this practice.

    So, next time you are in line, and know you will be stuck there for awhile, simply say to yourself, “I now wish to attract good fortune.”

    As soon as you have that thought in mind, silently internally begin repeating the following: “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.” Say it as many times as the line or traffic jam allows.

    You will build up good karma by doing this, and before you know it, “coincidences” will begin happening to you. Coincidences that others will interpret as good luck.

    Once these “good luck” moments begin to happen, you will then enjoy opportunities to stand on queue or getting stuck in traffic.

    If alone in your car in traffic, you can say this combination of sounds out loud if you wish.

    But, NEVER attract the attention of others with it.


    • Anastasiya says:

      Thank you Stetson for sharing this technique with me and my readers. I think that it is a great way to cam your thoughts down and to sped time with purpose while patiently waiting. Definitely worth a try!

  7. hehe, I loved the slow pet advice. My son was actually asking me to get a turtle, but I am hesitatant. We already have a parrot, that’s enough for me right now. You truly were patient last year and I am so happy you finally have your home and settling in it. Great and very through post as always Anastasiya!

    • Anastasiya says:

      I think that when it is time to get a pet for my girls I’ll definitely go with a turtle or a gold fish. Basically something small and that does not require a lot of time and care (and mostly cleaning.)

  8. axel g says:

    “Identify your triggers”

    I couldn’t agree more, awareness makes all the difference…

    You list many helpful pointers!

  9. I find the only way to overcome my impatience, is to concentrate harder on my goals. A client commented once when I was setting up a still-life photo ,she said that I was very patient. My reply was that I had very little patience and it was sheer determination that also controlled my temper.

    • Anastasiya says:

      That’s a very good tip Ivor. Proper focus can help us overcome almost anything in life, including our impatience.
      Thank you for being honest here. I know a lot of people who cannot admit that they are impatient and they cover up with some silly excuses. Good luck with your photography! I know that you need patience more than anybody else :-)

  10. Madeleine says:

    Anastasiya, Good suggestions for ways to slow down and be patient(or less impatient). One of the things I used to do when I had a long commute to and from work on an interstate highway was to chill out and listen to classical music. That helped keep me calm and patient when other drivers were driving badly. I think it also helped me stay safe. Impatience can be contagious, and impatience while driving is very dangerous.

    I wish everyone would read this post!

  11. Amanda Pingel says:

    My grandmother has a poster that says “The real secret to patience is finding something to do in the meantime.”

    I would also add to your list: Leave plenty of time.
    I work at the mall, and notice a huge difference in the patience of:
    * the person who took the day off on December 12 to do Christmas shopping
    * the person who left 2 hours for Christmas shopping on December 22nd.

    • Anastasiya says:

      That’s a great advice. I always prefer to be among the people who do their shopping on December 12 but a few times I had to be the second group too (maybe a day before Christmas but it does not matter.) That’s a BIG test of patience because everything around you is slow and crazy.
      Thank you for visiting and leaving your wonderful comment Amanda. I hope to see you here again :-)

  12. Tony says:

    nice imagery in 12

  13. Senthil says:

    I forgot where I read it, but a simple exercise is to count 100 breathes. Not fast breaths, but slow mindful breaths as in noticing your lungs contract and expand with each breath. I think counting your breathing is better than just counting till 100.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Thank you for this idea Senthil. I am sure that when you combine mindful breathing with counting you can not only regain your patience but also relax and become present in the moment. Thank you for your input!

  14. Christopher Frawley says:

    What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing so many good tactics.

    No matter how centered I think I am, that slowpoke can often really get to me. In that moment I imagine that this person has been delivered in my path as a reminder to slow things down. I try to remember to take the time to be conscious and present in the moment (or mindful as you say) and know that my agenda is just that my agenda and tomorrow all will be well.

    Thanks again for the ideas…

  15. Debbie says:

    Good tips, but one time I ask for patience and it was the stupids things I ever ask for. Every time I turned around I was needing patience about or for something. I ask for that request back and life was a little easier.

    Since then i am careful when I ask for something.
    More of the story is, be careful for what you ask for, you really might not want it when you receive it.

    Thanks for the tips and may you always be blessed with happiness.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I am glad that your request for patience worked out (at least we know that this tip works :-))
      You are right that we must always be ready for what we are asking for. If we are not ready to accept the gift then it will turn into a punishment.
      Thanks for sharing your experience with me.

  16. Debbie says:

    Thanks Yes I am very careful what I ask the Good Lord for. I do believe what he says , “Ask and you shall recieve.” As long as you really trully believe this it well happen.


  17. ImpatientPerson says:

    Thank you for this great, well written post filled with good advice on how to be patient. Most of the time, the stresses in my life pushes me to work faster, harder, and to generally try to be above everything in my life (perfectionist mentality). I think it’s an important skill to learn how to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak. I agree that it is an important part to being successful and happy… so I will take your advice and try them out. Thanks again!!

  18. Marisa says:

    Yes this information has helped. I am impatient when I do not get the results I want from people (I identified my trigger). I’m working ever so hard to overcome my impatience.

    • Anastasiya says:

      I wish you all the best in your journey to a more patient life. Identifying the trigger is really the most important step because now you can work on changing the way you react to different situations in life.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. raj says:

    I liked the points about thinking or planning out while on a queue and yoga/pilates and the slow pets. However, I have the strangest problem, I just can’t wait to finish something I just started, no matter how much interest I have in it. My mind would invariably start slipping into other things and I would feel the urge to stop right there and move to other things that’s going on in my mind. However, I can’t even finish that either without either forcing myself to (the work quality falls) or leaving it half done. By the end of the day (or month) I am either left with several half done perfect work pieces or complete stuff that is really not up to the mark! Seriously, what is wrong with me?

  20. Zainab says:

    Very good. I will need to try them out