Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Learning to be patient:

Patience is good for your health, so just how do you learn to "hang on to your goat"?
By Beverly Goldsmith
Date: September 28 2014
Tags: patience,
Editor Rating:

Patience is a virtue – so the saying goes. But have you thought that patience is good for your health?

Being patient can lead to a well-balanced, successful life. It’s all a matter of maintaining this health-giving state of mind in the hurly-burly of everyday life.

Staying unflappable, being able to tolerate delays or problems without becoming annoyed, seems to be a challenge of modern living. The reason, according to David Shenk, author of The End of Patience, is that: "We're packing more into our lives, and losing patience in the process. We've managed to compress time to such an extent that we're now painfully aware of every second that we wait for anything."

It’s also about the technology that we love and can’t seem to live without. Rather than enabling us to be time-rich, and thus cool under pressure, technology often encourages us to do things faster-and-faster. 

This speed, Shenk believes, can lead to the “vanishing of spirituality”; to times when we fail to mentally slow down, wait in a queue patiently, stay calm while driving in traffic, or “hang onto our goat” - our state of peacefulness, when stressed. 

Dr Rachel Harris, author of 20-minute Retreats, says that we should approach the everyday frustrating situations of life with patience, or we may suffer from anxiety and frustration. She adds that mastering the art of patience, or embracing it more fully, can lead to emotional and spiritual maturity. It can produce a better balanced mental state and attitude to life, a capacity to move through stressful times with poise, and also a healthier body.    

For some people, staying calm and composed seems a breeze. For others, it’s a struggle.

To keep an emotional balance many can walk-off or workout the frustration. But the alternative is to learn to take a deep breath and change your thinking. Here are some tips on how to do so. 

  • Incorporate patience into daily life. Be composed, unruffled. Think often about calmness of mind.
  • Don’t rush around in your thinking, or stress over trying to get everything done by a certain time.
  • Develop the quality of equanimity – evenness of mind. Be mentally balanced.
  • Remember what is most needed: “... growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.”  (Mary Baker Eddy)

When a situation or person annoys or upsets you, don’t react or lose your cool. As David Shenk says  - hang onto your goat! 

  • “… Go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; … with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it”, (Mary Baker Eddy again).
  • Say “no” to reactive impulses. Stay calm-and-collected.  Make measured responses.  
  • Remind yourself that you’ve been created a cool, calm person. You have an abundance of self-control - and patience. 
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2 Total Comments
Julie says: 2014 09 28

Thank you Beverly. This is an important topic!
I like to think of patience as adopting an calm and poised attitude that expects to find a good way forward. Perhaps it could be called “expectant waiting”, just like a mum-to-be who trusts and patiently waits for the appearance of her babe.
Mostly, I’ve found what helps most is a loving attitude - with our children, the elderly, officialdom, and of course, ourselves! And I agree that this results in good health because we cease to feel stressed when we adopt a patient and poised attitude.

Shirley Grgeov says: 2014 09 29

I had to learn patience and when once I did, just by walking away from a situation for 10 minutes or so, I never again was impatient. I found this important in learning to control anger rather than anger controlling me and my life became so much calmer, and harmonious as a result.
Anger and impatience demean people, this is not a natural state for mature people and the thing is that it is easily controlled. You only have to decide that this is not a characteristic you want to keep and you can rid yourself of it. Immediately. Just walk away from a situation and think of something else for 10 minutes and you will find that you can return to the same situation with an acceptance or solution. Remember, nothing is achieved by impatience or anger, you can say or do things that you will later regret. Your calm response to whatever situation you find yourself in, also calms the other person down.
You do have self control, use it.

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