Fundamentals of Mindfulness: Patience

September 22, 2021

We’ve all been there: feeling our blood boil as we wait in the long queue at the post office that seems to be advancing at an icy pace. Or we feel at the end of our wits when they transfer us for the third time trying to get technical support. We expect things to happen quickly, and when they don’t, it can be very difficult to be patient. But patience can be more accessible than you think. And not only can attitude help us to be calm, but patience can also be a boost to our health and our relationships. Here are four science-supported reasons to practice patience, what it means in the context of mindfulness and daily tips to help you breathe.


What is patience?

When it comes to patience, many of us may be more familiar with what impatience it feels like. Our body often tenses, our breath tightens and we start to feel hot. As a result, we may be short on our partner, do a quick job at work, or just feel upset because things are taking too long. And impatience can not only have a negative impact on our relationships and work, but it can also affect our mental and physical health. Having a short fuse has been linked to irritability and an increased risk of heart problems, as well as an inability to handle stressors and self-control (1) (2).

Patience, on the other hand, has many health benefits and can even help us enjoy our day-to-day life a little more. We’ll delve into this in this section, but first let’s start with a definition and look at the different types of patience (yes, there are different ones!). According to, patience is defined as:

“the quality of being patient, such as the support of provocation, discomfort, misfortune or pain, no complaints, loss of humor, irritation or the like.” (3)

3 types of patience

Basically, keep calm in the face of life’s daily challenges. And according to Sarah Schnitker, a leading patient researcher and professor of psychology, there are three main types of patience (5):


Interpersonal is about dealing with difficult or annoying people with equanimity.

Difficulties of life

Life’s hardships involve waiting for those difficult times, such as filling out job applications or dealing with a serious illness and waiting for the treatments to work, without frustration or despair.

Daily problems

The third type of patience is perhaps the one we encounter most often: daily issues like traffic jams and waiting for a webpage to load or your Zoom call to connect.

Patience, frustration

You may notice that you are a patient in one or two of these categories, but not in the others. For example, you may be more tolerant when you hear how your friends share their relationship challenges, but you feel very impatient when it comes to a slow internet connection.

In the context of mindfulness, patience is considered more than the ability to keep calm while waiting on this long impossible line. It is seen as a kind of attitude towards life that accepts the moment of things. MJon Kabat-Zinn, professor of editing and mindfulness, says:

“Patience is a form of wisdom. It shows that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things have to be developed in a timely manner. A child may try to help a butterfly emerge by opening its chrysalis. Normally, the butterfly does not benefit from this. Every adult knows that the butterfly can only emerge in due course, that the process cannot be rushed. “ (4).

Why practice patience?

There is a reason why patience is considered a virtue. Instead of rushing through life pursuing quick fixes and blowing anything that gets in our way, patience teaches us to enjoy where we are and to trust the process. Here are some other reasons why patience is a valuable trait to cultivate.

Your brain will benefit.

According to a 2007 study, patients tend to experience less depression and negative emotions (6). They also feel more gratitude, that is related to a list of positive benefitsas well as empathy.

Your relationships will benefit.

Research suggests that patients tend to be more cooperative, empathetic, and lenient (6). In relationships, patience may seem like kindness or love. Think of your partner who always takes an eternity to get ready, or your long-time colleague, or your father or grandfather who always tells the same stories over and over again. A little patience can go a long way.

You will be more productive.

Despite the viral TikTok videos that may lead us to believe, success, for the most part, does not come overnight. Building a career, achieving your goals, and success takes time. In a 2012 study, Schnitker found that patience helped students become more productive and that patients reported that they put more effort into achieving their goals (5).

Patience, working together

You will experience better health.

Because of their tendency to have higher levels of stress, impatient people often have more health problems and worse sleep (6). Studies have found it patient People are less likely to report health problems such as headaches, acne breakouts, ulcers, diarrhea and pneumonia, almost all of which can result from high levels of stress.

Tips for cultivating patience

Because much of what makes us impatient is beyond our control, cultivating patience involves changing our relationship with the event or trigger. Here are three steps Schnitker suggests to be more patient (7).

Identify what makes you impatient.

Observe when you begin to feel activated and identify the emotion associated with it. Are you stuck in traffic and anxious because you’re late for your appointment? Are you upset because you feel like you’re wasting your time queuing at the post office?

Reformulate the situation.

While starting to smoke may be an automatic answer, we also have our own conscious thoughts and beliefs. Often what is causing our impatience is not about us. The traffic didn’t just happen to get you late and the line didn’t form just to waste time. You can try to empathize with other people who are stuck in traffic with you or recognize that the cashier is new and a little slower, but that they are doing the best they can.

Note the larger image.

This can help make the current annoyance a little more bearable. For example, if you constantly have to tell your new puppy …“Don’t jump. His.”-remember that you are teaching him boundaries that will be better for everyone in the long run. Or when you are impatient trying to explain a new communication tool to your parents or grandparents, remember that enduring a little frustration now will help you connect better in the future.

Practice meditation.

No matter how much you practice mindfulness meditation, zen meditation, or just sitting for a few moments with your eyes closed, pausing to connect with the present moment can in itself be an act of patience. And research suggests that meditation can also help you manage everything from stress to sleep problems (8). Guided meditations as Patience by Roger Nolan in the Attitudes of Mindfulness collection of the Muse app can help.

man meditating, patience

Practice gratitude.

One study found that gratitude increased participants’ self-control and their ability to wait. When they were offered cash immediately or a higher amount later, those who were more grateful were more willing to wait for the unexpected unexpected in the future.

In addition to helping us stay calm, practicing patience can help increase our brains, our health, and our relationships, as well as our productivity. And within the context of mindfulness, we see that cultivating patience can help us enjoy the present moment and accept the development of life. Practices such as meditation and gratitude, as well as identifying our triggers, can help us cope with those everyday moments that test our patience with a little more ease and equanimity.

The secret of happiness? Thanks. >


  1. Do it without losing it: type A, motivation for achievement and revised scientific achievement in SAGE Magazines here.
  2. Self-reported impulsivity, but not behavioral focus or inhibition, mediate the relationship between stress and self-control here
  3. Read more definitions of patience here.
  4. Living in the midst of a catastrophe by Jon Kabat-Zinn here.
  5. An examination of patience and well-being here.
  6. Patience as a virtue: religious and psychological perspectives here.
  7. How to train to be more patient for NBC here.
  8. Meditation: A quick and easy way to reduce stress by the Mayo Clinic here.
  9. Here’s an easy way to be more patient for TIME here.

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#Fundamentals #Mindfulness #Patience

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