Tuesday 25 July 2023

Perfecting the Art of Patience in the Workplace

As the saying goes, “patience is a virtue” and it can come in particularly useful in the workplace. No matter what kind of job you do, at some point your patience will have been tested and as we well know, this can cause a great amount of stress and annoyance. Whether you’re waiting on someone to complete a task, queuing for the printer or sitting through a lengthy meeting when you have a pile of work to do, your patience can be tested to its limits.

What is impatience?

Before you can master the art of patience, it’s important to understand impatience and the effects it can have on our mental and physical wellbeing. When we feel impatient, we tend to become easily agitated and irritated, and this can stir negative reactions such as:

  • Anger
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Frustration

If you find yourself becoming impatient regularly, these reactions can play havoc with your physical and mental wellbeing and over time they’ll not only affect your mood, but they can increase your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, making you more prone to heart disease, poor sleep and high blood pressure. In a study undertaken by associate professor of psychology at Baylor university, Sarah Schnitker found that people who are often impatient are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, she goes on to say “Research shows that people who are more patient have higher wellbeing — more life satisfaction, hope, self-esteem, positive emotions in general. They seem to be able to pursue their goals with greater effort and have more satisfaction with their goal progress.”

How to become more patient?

To become more successful at work and to avoid the effects of the stresses that being impatience causes, you can learn to be more patient with a few simple exercises.

Breathe. When we feel impatient our breathing becomes shallower so by taking slow, deep breaths, we can start to relax a little and be more in control of our emotions, meaning we’re less likely to react irrationally.

Put things into perspective. Impatience can really blow things out of all proportion as we become more agitated and even angry in some instances. When we consider the importance of the situation, we often find that what we’re feeling stressed about is minor in the grand scheme of things. Also, remember that some things are simply out of our control and being impatient has no positive benefits and will only cause unnecessary stress.

Make use of the waiting time. We’ve all experienced the infuriating hold music when we’re trying to get through to a company on the phone but rather than sit there becoming increasingly irate, make use of your time and do something productive while waiting for the call to be answered.

Find a distraction. If you find yourself waiting around for someone else to complete a task or you’re waiting for your computer to update, do something that will take your mind off the situation. Maybe take an early lunch, go for a walk or catch up with a work colleague.

Pay attention to your body. Certain factors such as tiredness, hunger or dehydration can all play a part in making us feel less patient so to maintain an optimum mood, make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, eat healthily and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

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