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Impatience, Release Your Grip!


What is impatience? It is the frustration, anger, and resentment you feel when you’re not able to control a situation to your liking.

Why try to overcome this difficult emotion? Because impatience robs us of our happiness. If we can learn how to melt it away as opposed to conquering it then we can experience a better quality of life.

Why is patience so difficult to achieve? It’s because it requires us to be actively passive about a situation. It’s like trying to forget something. The more you think about it, the harder it is to forget it.

This article will outline the major situations that stir up our impatience and provide techniques you can use to meet the challenge of cultivating patience successfully.chains

What Drives You Up a Wall?

There are 5 major types of situations where we experience impatience. I will address each one in turn. They are:

  1. Dealing with Children
  2. Dealing with (Difficult) Adults
  3. Waiting (short time periods)
  4. Waiting (long time periods)
  5. When Things Don’t Work – computers, cars, gadgets, projects, writing, anything that’s not going your way!

How to Be Patient

1. With Children.

  • Understand and accept that children move at a slower pace. Isn’t that wonderful for them? Maybe not for you in the moment, but contemplate this and remember the joy of being a child. Be happy for that child that they have not yet become a fast moving robot.
  • Slow down to their pace if you can and enjoy it! The rest of the world can just wait! Of course there are times you can’t do this, but look for opportunities when you can.
  • Don’t react negatively to negative emotions in your child. Try to understand why they are having that emotion. They get tired and frustrated just like us. Try not to yell. Instead seek to help them through their emotions. If the child is tired, find a way as soon as possible for them to take a break. A hug can go a long way towards diffusing a frustrated child. If the child is frustrated, model for them how to handle thier frustration positively. It’s ok to huff and puff and let it out, but then it’s time to figure out what to do next. Help them with this. (see below “When Things Don’t Work”)
  • Compassion. Remind yourself that children our vulnerable. They need us to be compassionate. Taking time out to talk about how they feel will make them a stronger adult someday. By talking it out, they will feel better and so will you.
  • Snapping out of it. After discussing it, if the child is having difficulty letting go of the negative feelings, i.e. wallowing, then help them to get distracted enough to snap out of it. Humor works great for this. The earlier you can teach a child to do this the better they will be able to do it on their own later on.
  • Hyperactivity. If you are in a low energy mode and the child is in high energy mode, the solution is to get them to work off some of that energy productively. A trip to the park, beach or a field for some physical activity is optimal. When that’s not an option, you could set them up with an activity such as painting, collage making, a dance contest, a backyard soccer game, whatever. Here is a list of 78 kid activities you can also try. Tip: try to avoid too much sugar and TV as these seem to make kids a little cranky.
  • Good Parenting Resolutions is a helpful resource as well.

2. With Adults

  • Compassion. Ask yourself, “Why does this person act this way?” Seek to understand. You could even try asking the person. Just be sure to do this in a spirit of compassion not in anger or judgement.
  • Acceptance. If you must deal with a difficult person, try this: In your mind say to them “I accept you as you are.” I know this sounds difficult. It can be. But if you practice it, it does work. You will be sending out positive energy to them. They will receive it and, actually, so will you!
  • Force Field. This may sound kooky, but I can tell you from firsthand experience dealing with some very difficult people, that this works. Here’s what you do: Imagine that you have a force field around you that shields you from negativity. We don’t have to absorb negativity. We don’t have to lock in and hook into it. Simply watch it, observe it like a balloon floating by. Just remember, don’t grab the string of that balloon!
  • Avoidance. If you can, stay away or spend as little time as possible with negative people. When conflict arises with a difficult person, have a goal of moving forward as opposed to a goal of “winning.”
  • Be Prepared. Plan how you will react, how you will remain calm, and what you might say.
  • Vent Your Feelings Later and Laugh. Share your stories later in the day with a friend or loved one and choose to be amused by it rather than angry.
  • Resources:

3. Waiting – Short Term (such as waiting in line or waiting at a doctor’s office)

  • Read. Use the time to read a magazine, your RSS feed on your cell phone or something you’ve brought with you.
  • Write. Makes some plans. Write a letter. Journal about your day, feelings, whatever.
  • Draw. Do some sketching to make your brain stronger!
  • Rest Your Eyes. Most of us need this anyway. Close your eyes. Hold your hands over them and restore them a little bit.
  • Creative Thinking Time. We all need time to think about things. Waiting is a great opportunity for this. Try it with your eyes closed.
  • Play Games. This could be a crossword puzzle or games with people around you. You can play “20 Questions,” Hangman, or Pictionary.
  • Choose Not to Get Mad. Say this to yourself. Unless someone’s life is in danger, just let it go. If someone’s life is in danger, then get out of line!
  • Tip: Always bring reading or writing materials with you where ever you go!

4. Waiting – Long Term (to reach a long term goal, future vacation, party, return of a loved one, purchase you want to make, etc.)

  • Break It Into Smaller Chunks. If possible, try to segment your goal into smaller compartments. Focus on today’s portion. Establish mini check points on your way to reaching that goal and celebrate the smaller accomplishments along the way.
  • Distraction. Some things simply require passive waiting such as waiting for a loved one to return from being away. In this case, keep busy. Work on productive things you need to get done anyway.
  • Occasional Daydream. You won’t be able to help it, so when it happens go ahead and indulge in happy thoughts about the thing you are waiting for, assuming it is a good thing.
  • Be Present. Find ways to simply be present today so that your complete focus on today crowds out thoughts of what you are waiting for. Look for the good and the joy in the moment. This is good to do whether what you are waiting for is good or bad.

5. When Things Don’t Work

  • Say No to Anger. When starting a project or upon encountering a roadblock, the first thing you can do that will help you is to decide not to get angry. Anger only serves to drain your energy which you will need for problem solving.
  • Read the Instructions. I always jump right in before reading the instructions. If you do this too, and you run into problems, check the manual.
  • Slow Down. Rushing always brings about accidents and oversights. Take a deep breath and go slow.
  • Ask for Help. This one is easy and hard. It’s hard because we think we are burdening people by asking for help. But most times, people like to be needed, they like to help, and they find it flattering. It’s easy to do. Just ask. Let your pride go and focus on your goal of solving your problem.
  • Take a Break! This is so important. Sometimes you can’t, but most times you can squeeze in at least a short break. Longer breaks are better. During this time your subconscious will be given the space it needs to come up with a solution for you! This almost always helps! Remember to try this!
  • Analyze. Take a step back and assess whether it is worth your time to continue to work on this problem. If not, consider aborting the mission and starting anew.

Please Share!

Where do you struggle with patience and how do you handle it? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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32 Responses to Impatience, Release Your Grip!

  1. Anthony August 17, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    when I get impatient most is waiting in traffic. But I decided quite a while back, that being late somewhere is better than having a car accident. So I try not to get in such a hurry. When I get too impatient, I remind myself to take life as it comes……I can’t control everything. 🙂

  2. Carl Zetterlund August 17, 2007 at 10:35 am #

    Great practical tips. I can tell you have the right mindset.

    One question I have is, what if your parent’s are the negative ones. Do I avoid them?


  3. agentsully August 17, 2007 at 11:45 am #

    @Anthony – I used to get frustrated in traffic. Now I just leave early and if I’m late, then I say to myself “this is not everyone else’s problem.”

    @Carl – hmmm. 🙂 parents. I can relate to that a bit. It’s not easy for me. When I notice a very negative rant, I try to find a way to exit. However, if I think about it from a compassion point of view, I suppose I should try to think about where they are coming from and understand their struggles instead. This is the true challenge. To have compassion. Ah, I work on this. Thanks for spurring me to keep this in mind today. 🙂 peace!

  4. Philer August 18, 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    Really A great tips. I think 95% of Adult people has experience impatience. And I’m one of it.:D How about you? agentsully.

  5. agentsully August 18, 2007 at 8:53 pm #

    Philer – yes, I have to work on having patience!

  6. Education blogger August 22, 2007 at 5:07 pm #

    Great tips… thanks. I find that when it comes to adults, it is good to try to improve in each of the areas you mentioned.. but sometimes when all else fails, I resort to the “avoidance” way of handling the situation. There are almost always soloutions and ways to work through problems with frustrating people. But sometimes, when the solution is more trouble than it is worth, limiting the amount of exposure you have with someone can be the only answer. 🙂

  7. agentsully August 24, 2007 at 11:40 am #

    @Education Blogger – yes, I agree. Thank you for contributing!! Hope to see you again!

  8. Really thorough post, nicely done.

    My big one is definitely WAITING! DRIVES ME UP A WALL! I am definitely going to use your tips the next time I’m stuck somewhere.

  9. Nick January 29, 2009 at 3:09 am #

    i just tried reading as a way of dealing with patience… and it worked!

  10. Sam May 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    Thanks for these tips!
    Much appreciated cause dealing with sick people can be quite draINING!

    • agentsully May 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

      @Sam – thanks for stopping by and commenting! Good luck!

  11. patrick July 27, 2009 at 7:31 pm #

    when i am impatient, it comes to everything. like waiting to go somewhere or.. waiting for something on a computer to load…then i go crazy if i find nothing to do..

    • agentsully July 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

      @Patrick – I know. Waiting for the computer is what bugs me the most!

  12. Charles January 24, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    I am a type A and therefore very impatient. Your blog really will help. THANK YOU. You are a great writer; clear, concise and simple to understand with helpful links. I am subscribing.

    • agentsully January 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

      @Charles – awww! Gee, thanks! That means a lot to me. Glad to hear it helped you. I have to work on patience every day! That’s why I write about it! It helps me too!

  13. Joy G November 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Sound words, very true and well taken.

    The book, The Bait of Satan is also a very good book on

    Thank you,

    Keep up the good work.

    • AgentSully December 19, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

      Thank you, Joy, for your kind words and book suggestion.

  14. coreyu December 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Not very good advice. Obviously if it were that easy to just say “I am not going to get angry” I would not be searching on the internet for how to cure. Duh! I think that tolerance is key but how, or more importantly why, should I tolerate people that are being selfish, inconsiderate, and slow? In addition, I think we all have the responsibility to combat rude, selfish people and try to make the world a better place. It may be better for me to tolerate rude, selfish adults but that does nothing to solce the problem of “it’s all about me” American adults. If we do not call them on it, then there will just be more and more of them popping up. Kind of like if no one stands up to the school bully, then bullies continue to thrive.

    • AgentSully December 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

      Coreyu – I can completely relate to what you are saying. And it is exactly the irony of it all.

      The more we “fight” by calling people on their wrongs, the more negativity we contribute.

      The hardest thing to do is to let it go. I struggle with this myself, particularly with one of my personal relationships.

      Here’s the thing though. When I am able to summon up the strength to let go of my anger, then I open up a space to have a constructive dialog that has the potential (not the guarantee) to see some positive change on the part of the other person.

      It is definitely not easy, but with practice it does get easier.
      Something that helps me is to try to be around people who do this naturally and try to emulate them.

      Of course, bullies and people who commit egregious acts are not to be tolerated, but hopefully we can find ways to meet them with calm as opposed to anger, because the anger hurts us inside and does nothing to change them.

      I wish you peace on your journey.

  15. Christopher December 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    I found your post – I do find the tips helpful and have tried most of them but @ this point I realized I have a deeper impatience which I didn’t even know I had. I actually always thought I was patient but I realize now its with things I’m okay with – my kids, yeah I’m patient with them and help them with their needs – yeah sometimes their babbling I get somewhat annoyed with but I know how children are.
    I’ve been going over my life and I see a pattern – I was tipped off by trying to get evaluated about my education – I never finished college over ONE class which I have tried unsuccessfully to complete ever since. I’ve had struggles with algebra since I was young – having passed only 2 out of 4 classes in H.S. and that was primary by cheating. College I was suspended for my algebra performance and had to crawl my way back in. I thought I had passed the class in question but found after I walked the teacher had padded my grade to help me. She got fired. This was in 1995 – I have attempted the class several times to no avail so why I sought help.
    My evaluation was inclusive if I had any serious issues but said the main issue was that I was inpatient. I look @ the problems and I don’t know… I thought I was flipping the problems around but I guess my brain shuts down and I can’t go further – I want to get it over with – I get frustrated and don’t complete it. Yes I may sit 30 minutes over one problem, doesn’t mean my mind was there.
    I go back to when I was in h.s. and all I did was draw cartoons. After several unsuccessful attempts to get my cartoons signed, I gave up.
    I did internships during college and when they did not transform into something better immediately I gave up. It’s not being a quitter its just I get inpatient that things go as fast as I imagined. Most of my jobs – I don’t get a raise, I get inpatient and antsy, job performance slips.
    Here it is 15 years later – I have my fam, i have my health, I have my hobbies and my wants but I don’t have a job, I don’t have the success I saw for myself and I am frustrated.
    I believe my life has been sabotaged by my own impatience – I want things to change so desperately I fumble and fail. I’m a Pisces and a dreamer and my dreams don’t equal my reality at all. I’m starting to recognize now when I’m antsy about something I get flutters in my chest and I squirm – I’m a strong person and I cope with this issue but how can I change this type of impatience? How can I apply these tips to my skirmish gut instincts?

    • AgentSully December 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

      Christopher – Thank you for sharing your story. Here’s my advice.

      Start by cultivating compassion for yourself. Look at all you’ve accomplished with your life. Consider everything that you have done big and small. Give yourself credit. You deserve credit!

      Cultivate true warm kind love for yourself like you would for a child.

      Then next determine your top priorities in life. Then set your goals based on those priorities.

      Does algebra fit into those priorities? If not, then move on to something that you truly feel a passion for.

      Decide to change your outlook on your life – look to your successes, not your failures to define your life.

      You said you are strong. Now give yourself permission to be happy and move forward with confidence.
      You can do it!

  16. FLORIDA February 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Thanks for your excellent information, I with I have no patience with computers is sometimes angers me that do not load quickly, but as the article says that steals happiness to one, so you better have to be happy and if things going to happen is to leave them because we can not have everything under control, there is nothing that we miss ………. I love this blog ………..

  17. Andy King September 3, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Very small but great tips that are very practical, and creative. Yes, We can every moment of our time creatively.

    very creative post, thanks

  18. Jarod Online September 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Thank you so much for this. I am having an impatient day today, so this will help me out a lot.


    • AgentSully September 26, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      @Jarod – Happy to know this will help you today! Thanks!

  19. kyle November 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    I mainly struggle when I’m given responsibility and/or when I’m excited for something. I get so excited about doing it/doing it right that I end up rushing or overdoing it. I never have problems tolerating anything, but I’m impatient about things that I want to happen now/ect ect.
    What can I do to change this?

    • AgentSully December 10, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      @Kyle – yes! I understand that and feel that way often too!
      How to change this? Hmm….maybe we can’t change how we feel, but we can change how we act.

      Perhaps before starting the project each day, have a mental pep talk with yourself and promise yourself:
      -to go at a moderate steady pace (results will be better)
      -to know when to stop and not overdo it (taking regular breaks to assess where you are at can help)
      -to use your impatience to get things done, but not to let it control you. (for me having music or joking during breaks helps me break my serious mode enough to not get too agitated)

      Let me know if that helps!!

  20. Palmer Mena January 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Great post and thank you for taking the time to compose these tips. I do have a question.

    I havr noticed over the years that I am getting more anf more impatient. With people, my own projects and where I am in my personal development which has manifested into anger and frustration with myself. To the point to where I am constantly angry with myself for feeling frustrated about being frustrated. I know, it seems frustating, and it is. Having no control over any situation actually brings me anxiety and makes me antisocial.

    Do you have

  21. Palmer Mena January 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Do you have any suggestions on books I can read to get some much needed help on this issue?? Thank you!

    • AgentSully January 14, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      @Palmer – I would highly suggest anything by Pema Chodron. I really like her audiotapes called “Getting Unstuck.” Or books by Thich Nhat Hanh such as “Anger.”

      I can relate to your struggle. With awareness and practice you can begin to change your habits and find more peace. Wishing you all the best! Let me know what you think of the recommendations.

  22. Palmer Mena January 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Thank you very much for your response and recommendations. I will definitely check them out.

    Thank you for your kind wishes. All the best to you as well.


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    […] Life Learning Today has a great article that details what impatience is, what causes impatience and how to be patient. […]

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