Practicing Patience: Key to a Successful Mindset

Academic News & Updates

Patience is the theme for May’s newsletter.

Patience is described by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “the ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task, or person.” During these trying times, we must remain patient with our peers and colleagues, our friends and family, and most importantly, we must practice patience with ourselves.

When it comes to the dissertation process, it’s easy to become frustrated with the lack of support from your institution, the lack of communication between your chair or committee members, or the absence of energy available to sit down and write at the end of a hectic day. Seeing slow to no progress on your dissertation can be disheartening and even frustrating, but it’s during these times when our patience must persevere.

This month we are sharing three ways to ease into a bubble of patience for when you need it most. Tip #1 is to recognize impatience. Meaning, if for example, you are stuck in traffic and start to become inpatient, the first thought we have is ‘what’s going on out there?’ When really, we should be paying close attention to what is going on ‘inside.’ Internal thoughts create our response to external situations. When patience is practiced, our internal dialogue shifts to allow space to accommodate external obstacles.

Tip #2 is to recognize impatience within the body. Where do you feel impatience starting to fester? Where does it go next and how does it make you feel? Measuring impatience in the body is important because it allows you to acknowledge a tangible reaction. Once you locate the feeling within, the need to transform a stressful state of mind is activated and it becomes easier to welcome patience in.

Tip #3 is about self-compassion. Turning your impatience into patience requires a great deal of self-love. Let us go back to the example of being struck in traffic. After you’ve noticed that your internal dialogue is becoming inpatient and you’ve located the impatience within your body, ask yourself “What can I do to safely change the situation?” If there is nothing you can do, ask yourself to find the good in the situation. Even if the most you can do in the moment is focus on something pleasant or interesting while you are stuck in your car. Frame your thoughts into things you are grateful for like, “I am grateful to have a car to safely commute to work/school in.” This small act of mindfulness will water the seed of patience you’ve planted and will allow positivity to blossom within you.

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