In this week's podcast we are responding to a listener's question about anxiety and patience:
I am now almost 30 years old and have been living with anxiety since I was 8. In the past couple of years my family has been through a lot of difficulties. My mother is suffering through an ugly divorce, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and several physical aliments. As a result of my father’s abandoning of my mother and ultimately myself, I went through an extended period of panic attacks and depression. I was able to seek help during this time and am currently in a more peaceful state of mind. While still coping with traumas my family is experiencing, I try to maintain as much calm as possible.
However, since my most recent episode of anxiety and depression I have experienced difficulty with patience. I find I am now quicker to anger and easily become frustrated or overwhelmed. My fiancee and my Mom try to help me maintain calm, but I feel like it is easier to lose my patience than step back from whatever is causing me problems. I feel like I willingly follow my mind into the fury of anger before I stop and take a step back. Can you provide me with any guidance on the subject? I do not want to be known for losing my temper or being a difficult person. I want to improve my ability to be patience with myself and others.
Points covered in the podcast:
When we feel lacking in patience it often means we are stressed or out of touch with ourselves
You mention feeling frustrated or overwhelmed - maybe you need some more time and a little help to heal.
Make a point of connecting with calm every day. When your nervous system has been through a difficult time it can stay on “amber alert” for quite a while. Sometimes it can get stuck there.
"I feel like it is easier to lose my patience than step back from whatever is causing me problems. I feel like I willingly follow my mind into the fury of anger before I stop and take a step back."
This is typical of the mind when it gets snagged. It is easier! And it’s often a habit. But it doesn’t feel so good later. You are half way there by noticing this. Most of us are totally unaware, were to “in it” to see it.
Ayurveda encourages cultivating patience and compassion among other good qualities: Practice mindful breathing, or walking, for a few minutes each day as early in the day as you can as a self-care practice to help you cultivate some calm before the day gets at you.
Try developing curiosity if your mind pulls you into angry or impatient thoughts try exploring the situation that is challenging you.
- Can you see things a different way?
- Can you find compassion for the other person?
- Can you find room for compassion for yourself?
Don’t try and push through, take your foot off the gas and allow yourself to fall back.
Allow space and practice non-reaction
To reduce stress practice watching instead of jumping into situations, and listening instead of talking. We don’t need to react to every single thing that happens around us.
Watch first then respond, or don’t! Practice not reacting - allowing silence to be your response sometimes.
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