I know I’m plugging the Greater Good website rather a lot just now, but three weeks ago they alerted me to two good articles in one email. Here’s the second. As someone who is gradually learning how to overcome the buzzing nuisance in the head that Transactional Analysis calls a Hurry Up Driver, I am well aware of the value of patience and how important it is to learn to take my time. This article by Kira M. Newman is moving me further along that road, so I thought it worth sharing. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.
As virtues go, patience is a quiet one.
It’s often exhibited behind closed doors, not on a public stage: A father telling a third bedtime story to his son, a dancer waiting for her injury to heal. In public, it’s the impatient ones who grab all our attention: drivers honking in traffic, grumbling customers in slow-moving lines. We have epic movies exalting the virtues of courage and compassion, but a movie about patience might be a bit of a snoozer.
Yet patience is essential to daily life—and might be key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it. At home with our kids, at work with our colleagues, at the grocery store with half our city’s population, patience can make the difference between annoyance and equanimity, between worry and tranquility.
Religions and philosophers have long praised the virtue of patience; now researchers are starting to do so as well. Recent studies have found that, sure enough, good things really do come to those who wait. Some of these science-backed benefits are detailed below, along with three ways to cultivate more patience in your life. . . . .
The study of patience is still new, but there’s some emerging evidence that it might even be good for our health. In their 2007 study, Schnitker and Emmons found that patient people were less likely to report health problems like headaches, acne flair-ups, ulcers, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Other research has found that people who exhibit impatience and irritability—a characteristic of the Type A personality—tend to have more health complaints and worse sleep. If patience can reduce our daily stress, it’s reasonable to speculate that it could also protect us against stress’s damaging health effects.
Three ways to cultivate patience
This is all good news for the naturally patient—or for those who have the time and opportunity to take an intensive two-week training in patience. But what about the rest of us?
It seems there are everyday ways to build patience as well. Here are some strategies suggested by emerging patience research.