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 the challenge of modern living. The reason, says 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.
Rachel Harris, PhD, author of 20-minute Retreats, says that we should approach frustrating situations in daily life with patience, or we may suffer from anxiety and frustration. 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 you could walk-off the frustration, or better still, take a deep breath and change your thinking.
– 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, Science and Health p. 4)
Hang onto your goat!
When a situation or person annoys or upsets you, don’t react or lose your cool. 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”, ( Miscellaneous Writings p. 224, Mary Baker Eddy)
– Mentally 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.
I’m a professional Christian Science Practitioner and Teacher. Through my prayer-based practice, I help people find happiness, health and healing. As a writer on the connection between spirituality and health I share inspiring can-do tips and ideas.