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We all need to be patient, sometimes. But modern live seems to demand constant action and movement. We are bombarded with advice on how to be switched on, go for the goal and give 110%. There is so much to do, it is easy to forget the importance of patience.

Learning to be patient is part of the path to developing perspective, calm, and acceptance. It probably doesn’t come naturally though. Patience, like anything else worth doing, requires practice. Here are three ways to cultivate patience in your life.

xmas-calm

Breathe

When we get stressed or impatient the first thing that happens is our cardiovascular system revs up. Our heart pumps, our breath comes faster. If we want to stop reacting with irritation, the first thing to do is calm the physical response by controlling the breath. Use your knowledge from yoga and consciously focus on breathing in and out at an equal tempo. You can count to four on the in-breath and four on the out-breath, or choose some other cadence. Breathe calmly and evenly to tell your body there is no cause for alarm.

Imagine

It is human impulse to find targets for our impatience. Sometimes it is something inanimate, like a ticket machine, other times we take our frustration out on the people around us. This not only fuels our bad feeling, it creates a cycle of negativity. To break it, imagine what lies behind the situation. Maybe the person who cut the queue is a parent with a sick child, struggling to get through the day. Maybe the person who squeezes into the Underground and steps on your toes is a future friend (or lover). Sure, it’s a long shot, but we all imagine how things could be. Why not imagine something positive?

Appreciate 

When life seems to conspire against you, take a minute to think of all the way life conspires for you. We are surrounded by so many blessings: materially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Yet somehow, it is easier to focus on what we don’t have. That is part of consumer culture, of the culture of “aspiration”. If that works for you, good. If it doesn’t (and I suspect, for many of us, it doesn’t) let it go. Let go of what doesn’t serve you. Instead, genuinely and sincerely embrace and appreciate the gifts in your life.

What is your best tip for being patient? Share in the comments!