I decided to write about patience and tolerance – not as some type of religious requirement or virtuous focus – but as something that makes us feel less stressed and, therefore, less of a need to turn to the bottle in order to cope. And the more I began thinking about what being patient or tolerant actually involves, the more I came to realize that it does a lot more than reduce stress.
When we get impatient, angry, intolerant or judgmental with others – or even with ourselves – we feel guilty and toxic. But when we take a breath and decide to be patient, suddenly we FEEL better – not only about our behavior or that we are being a better person, but because at a physical level it causes us to release more of the neurochemicals that make us experience more peace and joy.
From a metaphysical perspective, what we send out into the universe comes back to us. From a purely scientific law of physics, the law of action/reaction states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So the more we push or attempt to rush someone or something, the more it will “push back,” essentially increasing our stress level – which can ultimately lead to relationship issues, health issues, and of course, substance abuse issues.
So try these techniques next time you find yourself impatient or intolerant, or in a bigger hurry than the grid-locked traffic is able to go:
- Take a BIG DEEP BREATH and exhale to the count of 10.
- Stop judging others or yourself.
- Try to empathize with the person or situation – how would you “feel in their shoes?”
- Consider letting the person know that everything is OK and that they can take their time – or perhaps simply ignore the person or their actions .
- What would happen if you smiled and made a joke – maybe lightening the situation up a bit? Just this action alone will make you happier because by laughing and smiling, your body will release the neurochemicals that make you feel better.
- If it’s a situation such as traffic or a long line, put your mind on something else – sing a song your head or out loud or let your mind go to a peaceful or happy place. And keep in mind, “this too shall pass.”
It takes practice and effort, and sometimes it takes more energy than you want to exert in the moment, but ultimately being patient and tolerant will pay off. Next time you feel your blood pressure rising and you’re about to grab a drink, try some of the techniques above instead.