We all know that feeling of frustration when we’re stuck in traffic or standing in a long queue, and even our daily interaction with other people can frustrate us in a variety of ways. We can lose our temper with our kids or partner over the smallest thing.
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More and more our level of tolerance is diminishing and so it follows that our stress levels are rising. By focussing only on the negative situation we find ourselves in, our frustration can build to a point where it can have a damaging impact, not just on our mental health but on our physical health as well.
High levels of stress can cause physical changes in our body that can lower our defences and leave us susceptible to a variety of ills.
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There are a million things - some trivial and some monumental – that can test us every day but in the larger picture of life it’s how we deal with them that will determine how they affect our health.
What we need to do is practice patience. The world is not out to get us; the traffic isn’t deliberately piling up just to ensure we have a bad day. We can turn those negatives into positives if we take a few steps back, take a deep breath and make a conscious decision to practice patience.
Use the traffic jam to relax and enjoy the music on your car radio. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you in the queue. Play a game on your phone or simply practice deep breathing and relax your muscles. You will begin to find your frustration ebbing and your mood lightening. By consciously choosing to be patient we are rising above the negativity of the situation and taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing.
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This conscious decision to practice patience should apply in the workplace, with our families and anywhere else where we encounter people or situations that test us.
By developing the habit of stepping back and seeing the bigger picture we can soon learn to respond to these triggers with patience.
Your child has spilled a drink? What’s the worst outcome? You may have to clean up a stain and pour another drink. The situation is fixable.
Bus is running late? Stressing won’t make it come any quicker. Use the waiting time productively.
What if the boss is on your back? Take a deep breath and remember that he is human just like you and may be having a bad day. Maybe some of your patience will rub off on him. But whatever you do, don’t let his mood change yours.
Start practicing patience today. Respond to the negatives with positives and you will begin to feel a sense of well-being that will soon spread to other areas of your life.