As a species, we need to be more patient. We lack patience as much as we lack happiness. Also, we are as patient as we believe we are happy.
To explain this, imagine you are a fan of fast food and you are eating from a well-known fast-food restaurant on a weekly basis – maybe even daily. You know their menu pretty well and when you get there, if you don’t have to stay in line to order your food, after you order it, you get the food in 3 to 5 minutes.
It’s been like that for years and nothing has changed. After you order your food, you know that you can start eating after (maximum) 5 minutes.
But one day you go there and you see a different type of food in their menu. “Looks so delicious”, you tell yourself and you order it. This time, it takes between 7 and 9 minutes to have your food ready. While there’s only a difference of only a few minutes, there are higher chances you’ll lose your patience because of the following factors:
- You are used with a different time frame for food delivering;
- The hungrier you are, the higher the chances to become impatient.
Your happiness is strongly connected to your ability to be more patient in a bad environment. You can define “bad” in “bad environment” as anything that can cause you negative feelings or frustrations.
If we look at the above example, your happiness would be connected to eating that delicious meal, right? And since your meal is delayed, your happiness is delayed too.
When you understand how to be more patient and understand the factors that are impacting your levels of patience, you’ll become happier.
In fact, patient people have better mental health.
There’s a study, from 2007, by Sarah A. Schnitker and Robert Emmons, and refined by Schnitker in 2012, and it says that patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions, perhaps because they can cope better with upsetting or stressful situations.
Both studies say that there are three types of patience:
- Interpersonal patience — doesn’t involve waiting but simply facing annoying people with equanimity;
- Courageous patience — involves waiting out life’s hardships without frustration or despair;
- Patience over daily hassles — involves waiting for traffic jams, long lines at the grocery store, a malfunctioning computer.
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The same studies say that patience is a skill that you can practice and eventually you’ll reach its main benefits: better mental health.
But there’s more. The study from 2012 says that patience helps us achieve our goals. In short, those with interpersonal patience, in particular, can make more progress towards their goals.
That being said, let’s see what you can do to be more patient.