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  • Writer's pictureStacy G. Smith, MS, LPC

Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #4

"I don't have patience for this!" Sound familiar?

We've probably all been in situations that tested our patience. Think about standing in line at the grocery store, when all of a sudden there's a problem with the order in front of you, and you hear, "Manager to register 2!" Chances are you're looking around for a shorter line, feeling antsy, and starting to mumble some frustrations under your breath.

These patience-testing moments can happen anywhere: at the mall, stuck in traffic, your boss running late to a meeting, etc... The question to ask yourself is, "Why am I in such a rush?"

While you may genuinely have someplace to be, and therefore would like traffic to move a little faster, more often than not we find ourselves in a big rush for no urgent reason. Is it because we want that extra time to relax on the couch, watch TV, or get started on the rest of the day's work/chores? Are we used to having the world at our fingertips via smartphones, and wish real-life tasks can follow suit?


Next time you feel your patience being tested:

  • Notice the effect it is having on your mind and body

  • Pause to reflect on whether there is an urgent "need" for something to happen more quickly, or if it is something you simply desire.

  • Distract yourself until the patience-testing event passes.

For example, can you create a fun music playlist to listen to while in traffic? Can you catch up with a friend (via Bluetooth of course), or plan what you want to make for dinner? At the grocery store, can you read the latest magazine by the register to pass the time? Or bring a book or puzzle with you to the doctor's office in case there's a long wait?

Remember back to Tip #3 - Whether you truly need to be somewhere or not, no amount of worry and stress can make the traffic clear, the line at the mall move faster, or your boss show up any earlier. What you CAN do is take a deep breath, use the extra time wisely, and remind yourself that each day is not a race.

By using the above strategies to practice patience on a small scale, you are building your tolerance to handle larger and more challenging situations that require patience as well - buying a home, looking for employment, handling difficult people. We must crawl before we walk, and walk before we run.


DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.​

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