Patience is a virtue, according to a well-known adage, but perhaps less well known is that patience can improve your mental and physical health as well as help you be a better neighbor and achieve your goals. That’s according to an article recently published in Greater Good Magazine, and many experts agree.
“I agree that patience is a virtue that pays dividends,” Dr. Lois Mueller, a psychologist from New Port Richey, Florida, tells Newsmax. “I’m a type A personality and found myself becoming impatient for the article to end! But that being said, patience does improve your confidence, which is tragically lacking in the general population today.
“Boredom is rampant because young adults and children expect things to happen at warp speed all the time. They speak too fast, like they are in a drag race. They have a hard time sticking to a task, rushing through everything without taking the time to contemplate themselves, let alone others.”
According to research, the payoffs in cultivating patience include:
- Better mental health. According to a study by University of California, Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons and his colleagues, patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions. They also exhibit more mindful and grateful behavior, connecting with others easily. This carries over to everyday patience such as dealing with traffic jams and technical malfunctions. Patient people manage to cope with these situations with aplomb.
- Better physical health. Emmons found in his study that patient people were less likely to have headaches, diarrhea, acne flare-up, and pneumonia, among other medical complaints. Other researchers have demonstrated that irritable folks have more health complaints and less sleep.
- Achieving your goals. Patient people are willing to work for their rewards and believe in “paying their dues.” In a 2012 study, Fuller Theological Professor Sarah A. Schnitker found that students who exerted more effort in achieving their goals were more successful and also felt greater satisfaction in their accomplishments, which made them more content in their lives overall.
- Better social interaction. When patience is applied to relationships, it takes the form of kindness, which always reaps rewards. Research suggests that patient people are more cooperative, empathic, equitable, and forgiving, according to Greater Good Magazine. Studies have shown that patient people are also more likely to vote.
“Practicing mindfulness leads to patience, which helps us slow down and relax,” notes Mueller. “We need to cultivate less judgment and more understanding of others. I think this practice will lead to less anxiety and stress and more enjoyment of our lives and relationships.”
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