Summary: The Book of Patience By Courtney E. Ackerman
Summary: The Book of Patience By Courtney E. Ackerman

Summary: The Book of Patience By Courtney E. Ackerman

Basic Mantra for Patience

One of the best ways to create the traits you want in yourself is to use a mantra. Mantras are handy ways to insert the things you want into your everyday life, by keeping your goal or vision in sight through repetition and mindfulness. Mantras for patience are especially effective because they encourage waiting through the sheer practice of taking time to say them.

Here’s a great mantra for becoming more patient:

Peace. Patience. Calm.

This mantra is short and sweet, but it can have a huge impact. Repeat this mantra while you meditate, when you practice yoga, when you engage in mindfulness, or just in quiet moments throughout your day. Over time, you’ll find that you really feel more peace, more patience, and calmer in your day-to-day life.


What Would Happen If You Chose to Be Patient?

This is a simple question, but it can have a powerful impact. When your mind starts overthinking at what feels like a million miles per minute, it’s easy to forget that you have a choice in how you direct your thoughts.

If you’re feeling anxious, tense, or rushed, ask yourself this question: “What would happen if I chose to be patient?”

Think about how the experience would change if you chose to be patient. What would your situation be like right now? What would your situation be like in the future? How would you feel looking back, when whatever you were feeling impatient about has come and gone?

You can’t always choose what thoughts or feelings arise, but you can choose how to respond to them. Ask yourself this question and ponder your answer to work on building your sense of patience. If you have a journal, feel free to turn this question into a journal entry.


Find Something Blue

Sometimes, all you need to be patient is a distraction or a direction for any wayward thoughts. Instead of focusing on negative feelings of impatience, give your brain a task to focus on.

If you’re feeling impatient, hit the “pause button.” Sit down or remain standing and be still for a moment. Send your gaze outward around you. Look from side to side, taking in the whole room or area that you are in. Your goal is simple: to find something blue.

If you quickly and easily find something blue, challenge yourself to find another thing in a different shade of blue. See how many you can find before you have to get up and move on with your day.

This exercise works because your mind likes being busy! You can use your brain’s tendency toward being busy to your advantage, to spark patience whenever you need it.


Grin and Wear It

When you’re feeling frustrated with your current circumstance, try smiling to naturally help yourself find some peace and patience. Smiling is a universal sign of positive feelings in virtually every culture. It also sends signals to your own brain that you are content and at peace. Use this biological fact to your advantage the next time you feel impatient.

Here’s how to do it:

Find a mirror if there is one nearby. If there isn’t a mirror handy, you can still do the exercise; you’ll just need to use some imagination!

Standing in front of the mirror, take a moment to study your reflection. Move your attention to your mouth and notice how it looks with a neutral expression.

Now, begin to smile. Move slowly, watching as your mouth curves upward. Try to make the smile look as natural as possible.

Once you have a natural smile that feels good on your face, hold it for at least thirty seconds.

As you hold the smile, you might notice that you start to feel calmer, more collected, and more at ease, which naturally helps you be more patient.


Look at Your Hands

When you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to hyper focus on negative aspects of your current circumstance. When you need to get your impatient thoughts under control, put your sight to good use by focusing in on something that is easy to see: your hands.

Your hands are truly amazing things. You use them constantly to get through your day. Sometimes, you use them for big things, like lifting, carrying, and driving. Sometimes, you use them for the finer motions, like writing, typing, or giving a loving and gentle touch. It’s really quite astonishing how much people do with their hands, yet how little time they spend acknowledging them.

To calm your mind and bring patience, take a minute to study them. Look at your palms and your fingertips. Notice all the delicate lines tracing your skin. Follow the lines up your palm, across your hand, and around your fingers.

Look at the backs of your hands. See the crisscrossing veins and notice the tendons that travel up to your knuckles. See the little wrinkles at each finger joint.

Think about how amazingly perfect each of your hands is, and how they allow you to live your daily life. Welcome any feelings of patience that come during and after this exercise.


Compare to the Past

In today’s modern world, it can be both a blessing and a curse to live in a world of instant gratification. It’s great to get what you want, when you want it, with the right app. But current technology has made it more difficult to be patient when you can’t get what you want on demand. To remind yourself of your ability to wait, try comparing your present to the past.

Imagine a moment in time, one that is at least twenty years in the past, but the further back, the better. Think about how long you would have had to wait for whatever it is you’re waiting for now. For instance, if you’re feeling impatient about receiving a reply to an email, imagine having to wait for a fax, a telegram, or even a handwritten and horse-delivered letter.

Think about how much more patient humans needed to be before the current days of quick satisfaction. Remind yourself that humans survived far more frequent and far longer waiting periods in the past, and that you can survive your current feelings of impatience too.


Do Some Tree Watching

The next time you are struggling with staying patient, look around you and find a tree. Trees are ubiquitous. Just about everywhere that people live, there are trees growing. Of course, they can look very different depending on location, but whether you look out your window and see palm trees or evergreen trees, you can use trees to be more mindful and more patient.

Once you find one, focus all of your attention on it. Ask yourself questions like the following to keep your mind on it:

What kind of tree do I think it is?

Does it have leaves or needles?

Does it lose its leaves or needles seasonally or is it always green?

What does that tree probably smell like?

Are the branches moving? Is it windy?

I wonder what creatures might live in that tree?

Basically, adopt an avid interest in the tree you see, even if it’s just for a minute or two. Taking all of your attention and focusing it on this calming and relaxing task will help you stay more patient in the moment, take your mind off of whatever was making you feel impatient, and you might even get the added bonus of learning something new about your tree of choice!


Take a Few Deep Breaths

One of the most basic, tried-and-true methods of gaining patience is through breathing. Breathing is a fundamental component of being human. It’s like your heart beating in that it’s a mostly unconscious thing that keeps you alive, but it does differ from involuntary functions like heartbeats and blood flow—you can choose to consciously control it.

According to practitioners of meditation, yoga, and other breath-focused practices and lifestyles, the breath is your foundation. It is ever present, something you can always turn to when you need to ground yourself.

When you’re having trouble waiting for something, try anchoring yourself in the present moment with the breath. Here’s how:

Close your eyes if you can safely do so.

Take a deep breath, the biggest one you’ve taken all day. Fill your lungs completely.

Exhale completely, allowing all the air to leave your lungs.

Take just a moment to pause at the end, with your lungs empty. Rest in stillness. Repeat the deep breath in and out three more times.

Welcome the calmer, refreshed, and more patient state of mind, and remain still for a few more moments before getting back to what you were doing before.


Press on Your Third Eye

If you’re feeling tense and struggling to be patient, try pressing on your third eye. The third eye is an important pressure point in your forehead. You can think of it as a “button” of sorts, one that can be pressed to help you more effectively deal with difficult situations or negative emotions. It can also help you focus, keep you centered, and bring you into the present moment—all things that contribute to greater patience.

Try this method:

Find a comfortable seat and take a deep breath in to begin.

Put your palms together in front of your heart. Press in on your palms, putting gentle pressure against each hand. Now, raise your right hand slowly up to your face.

Take your pointer finger and place it on your third eye. This is a spot in the center of your forehead, about an inch above your eyebrows.

Keep your eyes open and press gently into your third eye with your finger. Feel your third eye opening under your finger.

With your third eye opening, you may feel a surge of calm and contentment. Open yourself up to it, allowing your third eye to help you be more patient in the moment.


Find Three Good Things Around You

This is a classic exercise used by self-help professionals for years to help you feel more positive, collected, and patient when you’re stressed or anxious. By choosing to look for the positive, you’re telling your brain that it’s safe and secure, and that there’s no need to rush.

Follow these instructions to try this technique:

Find stillness wherever you currently are. Stop and look around you.

Challenge yourself to find three “good things.” The definition of “good things” is open to your interpretation, but think of things that make you feel happy, inspired, or encouraged.

Note each thing you see and dwell on it for a moment. For example, you might see a picture of you and a loved one in your immediate vicinity. Take a moment to simply sit and look at the picture, and think about how much this person means to you and how glad you are to have them in your life.

If you found three things easily, keep going as long as you’d like! There’s no limit to how many good things you can find if you look for them. Spend time focusing on everything good surrounding you, and let go of the entire thought process that was making you feel impatient, so that when you return to what you were doing, you’ll bring your new positive and patient energy to your task.


Stretch Up to the Sky

There’s nothing like a nice, big stretch to shed some of your worries and feel more optimistic. Try full-body stretches to treat your body and your mind to some special treatment, as well as put yourself in a better state to practice patience. When you treat your body well, the mind often flourishes too, and vice versa.

Start standing up with your hands by your sides. Shake it out a bit if your muscles feel stiff or sore.

Slowly raise your arms out to a “T” shape with your palms facing forward, then continue bringing them all the way up over your head, rotating your palms to eventually face toward each other.

Once you reach the top, clasp your hands together and give them a squeeze. As you squeeze, lift yourself up onto your tippy toes and stretch your whole body upward toward your hands.

Hold this stretch for as long as your balance allows, then return to the starting position.

Repeat the stretch until you feel calmer and more present in your body.

You might scrunch up your forehead or make a silly face when you engage in the full-body stretch. Embrace it and lean into the funny face to bring some lightheartedness to your day. Just like when you’re calm, it’s easier to practice patience when you’re happy!


Shake It Off

Just like the title of a popular song by Taylor Swift, sometimes you can work through negative emotions and feelings of impatience by simply shaking it off!

Of course, you can’t always “just shake” everything off—especially deeply rooted issues—but for everyday struggles that make you feel impatient, this mantra can work. If you’re feeling irritable and impatient, give this technique a try!

First, find a private place to shake it off in peace. A dance floor also works if one is nearby and you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind getting funny looks.

Make sure you have some space around you. You don’t want to knock anything over or run into anyone!

Stand still for a moment with your hands by your side. Close your eyes if that helps, and focus on your impatience. Bring it to the front of your mind. Visualize it, dwell on it, put all your energy into it.

Once you feel like your impatience is nearly bursting out of you, shake it off—physically! Move your body as weirdly, erratically, or quickly as you need to in order to get rid of all that nervous, impatient emotional energy.

When you’re finished shaking it off, take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the release of the pent-up tension and impatience before moving on with your day.