1. Make fewer plans.
We often get caught up in meticulously scheduling out every part of our day, and when plans go awry it stirs our impatience. Stop imposing unnecessary deadlines on yourself.
2. Focus on what someone is saying, not how long it takes him/her to say it.
If you talk and think a mile a minute, it’s difficult to remember that some people speak more slowly to collect their thoughts. Ignore the lapse in time and just listen.
3. Make your handwriting more legible.
When you’re taking notes, brainstorming or making to-do lists, this is the simplest way to slow the pace of your writing, such that you can actually collect your thoughts and not miss anything.
4. Pack lunch.
Bring lunch from home so you’re not constantly running around or waiting in lines during the one hour of your work day that you’re supposed to use to regroup.
5. Wake up 15 minutes earlier (and make coffee 15 minutes earlier).
You’ll be surprised how much more patience you have when you actually give yourself an adequate amount of time to get ready and make breakfast.
6. Listen to an acoustic playlist on Spotify.
Most pop music is so fast and upbeat that it can literally speed up your heart rate. The acceleration makes you move just a little bit quicker which tests our patience. There’s an acoustic versions for any genre or taste preference, so try substituting.
7. Make happy hour plans later than you otherwise would.
Part of our impatience on the road or subway comes from our inability to control what time we’ll arrive. Set happy hour at 6:30, instead of 6:00 and give yourself a break. (And find a place with all night happy hour.)
8. Buy lavender oil.
Say yes to aromatherapy. Spray the oil around your house, or carry it with you. If you let it, the calming scent can ease your frustration, which is stemming from impatience.
9. Learn to whistle
In The Secret Life of Bees, there’s a character that hums to keep herself from crying. In the midst of the waitressing job from hell, I adopted a similar practice to keep from losing my patience with obnoxious customers. I’d come back to the counter and instead of brooding, I’d teach myself to whistle. (Three years later, I can only do an off key rendition of “Jingle Bells.”)
10. Make meals for the week (when you actually have time).
That way, when you don’t have time, you don’t have to cook or impatiently wait for your frozen pizza to cook. You’re far more likely to lose patience with our roommates when you’re hangry.
11. Acknowledge the good in your day by writing it down.
Those of us who struggle with patience are often moving so fast that we forget to appreciate the small triumphs in our day. When something happens that you want to remember, write it down.
12. Exercise to get rid of your aggression.
Some of our impatience is rooted in aggression, whether it’s directed at others or ourselves. Running, lifting, or a good kickboxing class can all help.
13. Meditate every morning, or just sit quietly and be.
Bring some zen to your day and even if you’re not in a fully meditative state, the impact of the routine and silence can help settle you.
14. Force yourself to be polite to strangers.
Strangers are the group we have the least patience for. Push yourself to be nice to them because it will become natural over time if you do it continuously.
15. Have a glass of wine.
In wine, there is patience.
16. Consider the day others have had.
When you lose patience with a coworker, significant other, roommate or parent, consider why they’re acting in such a way that frustrates you. It’ll remind you that you’re not the only one who faced challenges today.