The choice should be clear. Have patience. The more impatient we are with our anxiety, the more power it has over us.
Let me get straight to the point here. Most of us who are suffering unnecessarily from anxiety lack the one crucial virtue that could help us to recover – PATIENCE. Along with acceptance, patience is one of the most important qualities that one must possess in order to face any adversity in life. A life without patience is always a hectic, frantic and frazzled one. Without patience, we can easily tire ourselves out with the frustration of not obtaining the results that we desire. Not only that, but when our anxious mind seeks rest so it can heal itself, impatience gives it no breaks and keeps it continuously spinning around the wheel like an exhausted hamster.
I remember how I was impatiently waiting to be cured of all of my illness, particularly my anxiety. I couldn’t wait to feel normal again, but I didn’t realize that it was this impatience that was partly contributing to prolonging my illness. It was my therapist who helped me to see how impatient I was when things were not going my way. Even though I embraced my problems with an attitude of openness and acceptance, I was very restless when I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.
The way I see it now is that Life is taking us on a road trip and sometimes we’re on the passenger side. And sometimes, Life will spontaneously decide to make a pit stop in the middle of nowhere. When this happens, we have a choice to make. We can just sit inside impatiently and complain all day asking Life when we are going to get back on the road, or we can get out of the car, go explore the area, stretch our body and get ready for our turn to drive.
With patience, even a mountain of sorrow erodes away, albeit slowly, bit by bit. However, cultivating patience is not an easy task; first, it requires a change in one’s attitude. Once we understand the importance of it in our lives, we can slowly incorporate certain changes in our everyday activities to increase our capacity to endure plateaus in the journey of Life. Here’s how I am personally learning to cultivate patience.
By Learning to Trust
The cute french bulldog learns to trust and can finally take the leap
Without trust, all efforts to cultivate patience will end in frustration. What do I mean by trust here? Let’s say you are suffering from generalized anxiety. You know that the best cure for it is to accept your feelings while living life according to your values and patiently waiting for your mind and body to heal. The trust in your own mind’s ability to heal itself when you get out of its way is what is going to give you the base to build your patience upon. Without this trust, you will simply wait it out for a few days and then get back to worrying why your anxiety hasn’t left you yet. If you are struggling to trust that Life will deliver your results to you, here’s something that might work: FAITH. Experiment with faith. The word faith here doesn’t necessarily mean faith in a higher power, but merely any belief held together by courage, intuition, and wisdom without the necessary proof. For a few weeks, believe that you are already going your best and that things will work out if you wait it out patiently. Don’t keep your focus on the results. See what happens.
Yes, it has been said many times that there are numerous benefits to meditation and growing your patience is definitely one of them. Sitting alone with one’s own thoughts is a sure way to become acquainted with the slow passage of time. For someone who has never meditated before and whose mind is flowing like a turbulent river, the word meditation sends jitters. But slowly, with a patient mind, even the strongest currents settle down in time. By learning how to meditate, you cultivate patience as a bonus. There are many articles and guides available on the Internet to help you get started with meditation. However, if you are looking for a quick tip, I’ll share one that has helped me a lot: keeping a timer. Even if it’s for 5 or 10 minutes, set a timer and just sit. All you care about in the beginning is to sit for the entire duration of the timer. It’s not even important to focus on your breath. Just sit and let your thoughts flow as they wish. When the timer has expired, get up and get back to your daily activities. When you’ve become acquainted with sitting, you can move on to focus on your breath, and slowly add more features to your practice thereafter.
By Being Mindful
Mindfulness is meditation in everyday activities with your eyes fully open. It is being aware of the present as it is. Every time we start day dreaming, we try to bring our awareness to the present moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love daydreaming, as it is part of who I am. But, when my thoughts are drifting into unwanted territories that cause me more pain than joy, I try and bring my awareness to what is here now. The present moment can not only shield us from unnecessary suffering, but it is the platform on which patience rests.
By Knowing That Impatience Sustains Anxiety
I get it, you want to get rid of your anxiety and you’ve experienced years of suffering. You have tried several techniques from the latest self-help books to multi-day retreats to different sorts of medication, but your anxiety and restlessness are still here. Let me ask you, how many of those years have you had an attitude of patience towards your anxiety? How many of those years have you trusted your mind’s ability to heal itself if patiently given the necessary time it needs? Patience is the medium in which suffering dissolves. I didn’t say it’d dissolve quickly, as that’d be contradictory, but slowly and surely, the mind calms itself down if given enough time.
By Looking at Key Areas in Your Life
If you are impatient in one area then it’s likely that it is a habit that spreads to other parts of your life as well. Through careful introspection, look at other problematic areas of your life and ask yourself whether you have been patient there or not. In my own experience, I see that I am impatient in quite a few areas. Take dating, for example. I became frustrated and impatient that I was not meeting the kind of woman I wanted in my life. But I soon realized that it is rare to meet someone whom you are attracted to and who is also attracted to you in the same way and both of you are in a place in life ready for companionship. All I can do is be the best possible version of myself and wait patiently for time to bring me closer to my future partner. Sometimes, when I write articles like this, I tend to get frustrated that it doesn’t reach a larger audience. Now, I understand that building a loyal audience takes a long time. My best approach is to write good articles, promote them and wait patiently; without losing my mind as to why an article didn’t get as many shares as I’d like.
Patience is a virtue that seems to be losing its grip on our society that is obsessed with immediate gratification, faster speeds of communication and accelerated lifestyles. But without it, we run the risk of increasing the frustration in our life.We can either choose to have more patience or stick with our stress and anxiety.
Sleeping buddha – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mettamatt/502812127/
Meditation – https://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsock/3705388300
Mindful Hike – https://www.flickr.com/photos/48746111@N04/4466093934
Phone Checking – https://www.flickr.com/photos/streetmatt/23640879171