Patience once dictated that we be able to contain ourselves to the count of three, but apparently a tech-driven world has reduced us to having trouble getting too far past one. A British survey of two-thousand adults found people start to lose their cool waiting for an online page to load after about sixteen seconds. Patience, once a virtue, grows obsolete. How do we rediscover patience?
The Mayo Clinic recommends three steps: mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, and physical mindfulness combining mind and body like yoga or tai chi.
In Houston eight-week courses on mindfulness-based stress reduction are taught by Micki Fine at Mindful Living. “We learn to pay attention in the present moment, and in a particular way, with letting go of judgement and critical thought,” she explains to KTRH News. She says it begins by focusing on breathing. Your mind will inevitably wander, Fine says, but the skill is in refocusing concentration on breathing and introduces calmness and relaxation. You’ll become aware of reactivity that drives emotions and actions when patience wanes. Fine says she finds guidance in the wisdom of Austrian Auschwitz survivor and psychologist Victor Frankl who wrote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
It is the freedom from stress to find your patience.
For those looking to find patience through transcendental meditation, Steve Corrick, co-founder of the Houston Transcendental Meditation Center says TM has been shown by the American Heart Association to dramatically reduce blood pressure, and helps people with PTSD quickly find a safe place in their mind when thoughts start to scatter. He says the human body needs to be able to react to immediate threats immediately, but also needs the ability to pull back quickly as danger subsides, and it’s in that space that some people have difficulty. He says of the methods to reintroduce patience advocated by the Mayo Clinic including MBSE, meditation and mindful movement, “What they all do is give us access to the quietness within us so that we can have that available to us every minute of every day.”
And that….is patience.
You can learn more about transcendental meditation in Houston at tm.org/Houston.
Micki Fine co-authors a book coming out in October titled "May All People and Pigs Be Happy."