With COVID-19 continuing to cause uncertainty and disruption in our lives, both personally and professionally, it is easy to feel impatient with ourselves and others these days. But the best response in stressful times isn’t to ramp up urgency but to exercise patience. Patience has been defined as the “ability to be calm in the face of adversity, frustration, or suffering.”1
Here are five ways to practice patience during this time of uncertainty.
1. Identify your personal triggers. What people or situations spark frustration and reactivity in you? Knowing this, how can you anticipate the reaction and respond differently?
2. Practice gentleness and compassion. Everyone is under stress, at work and at home. Consider that everyone is truly doing their best — including you.
3. Focus on what you can control, and take some small action.
4. Regularly practice an activity that improves your body or mind, such as exercise or meditation.
5. Reconnect with your purpose. Focusing on why you chose a career in medicine can help you do the hard work of being patient, because it reminds you of what you are waiting or suffering for.
1. Schnitker SA. An examination of patience and well-being. J Positive Psychol. 2012;7(4):263–280.
Read the full article in FPM: "Ten Tips for Cultivating Patience During Uncertain Times."
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