Whether personal or professional, we all encounter problems, delays, or some type of suffering. But people who can weather these scenarios without becoming excessively annoyed or overly anxious fair better both emotionally and physically, says Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University.

Why? When we get stressed out, our bodies pump hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in order to elicit a fight or flight response, says M. J. Ryan, author of The Power of Patience. Although this exists to save us from perceived danger, these hormones are toxic to every tissue in our body: "When we live this way for a prolonged amount of time, we see adverse health effects, including a compromised immune system," says Ryan.

While it's true some people are generally more even-keeled than others, both Ryan and Hafeez agree that it's possible to train yourself to be even more patient.

The first step is to understand your triggers...

Does standing in line drive you crazy? Or maybe traffic is enough to send you into full-on meltdown mode? Notice what gets you worked up into a frenzy.

Then practice handling your triggers...

Being more patient is all about downing your stress response and upping your relaxation response," says Ryan. Start by practicing calming self-talk (i.e. "This is not worth getting upset over" or "I can only control what I can control") and taking slow, deep breaths from your belly, says Hafeez.

And if you're really struggling, these strategies can help in the face of some of the more common triggers:

If you hate waiting...

Pick a time of day when the store isn't typically as crowded, and then "graduate" to a more crowded time to test your resolve, says Hafeez. If you find yourself in line and feeling frustrated, breathe, call a friend, or put on headphones and turn on uplifting music.

Put the hassle into perspective in the scheme of life, says Hafeez. Remind yourself that this is just a small (and very manageable) blip on the radar—even if it is going to make you late for an appointment.

And remember: There are all kinds of delivery services, like Instacart and Amazon, that take away this annoyance. If using these services saves some of your emotional sanity, the extra cost may be worth it.

If traffic is driving you crazy...

Take yourself on a mental vacation, says Ryan. "Visualize the most peaceful place you can think of. See, feel and hear yourself there." In these scenarios, meditation can also be very valuable, since it can help you to learn to find a center of calm within yourself, says Hafeez.

If your kids are testing you...

Issue a storm warning before you blow, says Ryan. Say something like, ā€œIā€™m about to lose my temper.ā€ This not only offers your kids an opportunity to change their behavior, but it also lets you realize it may be a good chance for one—or both—of you to have a time out.

You can also count to ten in a heated situation like this, says Ryan. "This gives you a moment to consider what really matters to you—blowing off steam or finding an effective solution."

Read the full story here: 11 Ways to Be More Patient in Any Scenario


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