HOW TO FEEL LIKE YOU ARE AT THE BEACH WHEN YOUR PATIENCE IS TESTED

Let me start this post by being brutally honest. I struggle at times with patience. I am an expert at thinking and acting quickly. Does it serve me well? Sometimes. Other times I need to slow it down.  Magic happens when you slow down.  I have been in practice mode of managing my patience for YEARS.  Indulge me if you will, and I will share a story.  When my kids were elementary school age, I was on the verge of allowing my patience to go one afternoon.  I do not recall the specifics.  What I do recall was the heavy feeling in my chest, repeating myself what felt like 496 times, my voice volume and tone changing.  That afternoon I caught myself and the changes occurring within my body and my behaviors.  I went to the microwave oven and turned the timer to half my age and told my kids I needed a time out and I would come downstairs when it went off.  I committed to being calm and talking as the mom I wanted to be for myself and them.

It was glorious.  I mean, after the mom guilt tried to eat up all the minutes.  Mom-guilt and I had a quick talk.  Moms and dads out there you following me?  It is that voice that pops in (whether it is yours or someone else’s) and there is no room for it especially when you are already being hard on yourself.  Back to the story.  After I allowed the guilt to eat up about two minutes, I choose what to do with my time out.  For me, it was reading a few pages of a book I had been trying to finish for about two months.  I left about two minutes to do some calm breathing and create a picture of how I wanted to be when the timer went off.

Did my kids look at me with dropped jaws when I returned?  They sure did.  The idea of mom taking a time-out was wacky to them.  If we have our kids take time-outs to calm themselves and therapists teach and encourage couples to take one in a healthy way, moms and dads can take one too.  You are modeling healthy behavior to your family and caring for yourself when you do so.  Sometimes you will master it.  I believe in you.  Other times it may be a struggle and you will make mistakes.  We are all human.

Life is stressful at times.  Other times there are moments of fun and laughter.  Patience may be challenged during times of higher stress.  With unexpected life changes some of us may feel our patience running from us and we want to better manage it.

HOW VISUALIZING THE BEACH (OR ANY CALMING PLACE) CAN HELP YOUR PATIENCE

If you are still with me, I am hoping you too are in practice mode to better manage your patience.  The reassuring and empowering thing about patience is we get to choose how to handle it.  That alone I hope allows you to exhale some.  Often when we are losing our patience, negative, critical thinking pops in as mentioned above.  What could happen if you caught yourself when your patience is being tested and you handled it with intent?  Amazing things such as gratitude, a “heck ya” to yourself, calmness, and self-acceptance to name a few things.  So where does the beach fit in you ask?  Keep reading to see how partnering with your patience level leads to the results you want.

Take a moment here to stop reading and instead remember a time when your patience was challenging you.  It can be a time at work, with your family, feeling pressured to get to an appointment and of course every single light was red.  Got that situation pulled up in your mind? Perfect!  See if you can notice yourself and how you are feeling and responding as the pressure builds in the memory.  If it is hard to keep the visual, then write out when you are recalling.  Do you notice any changes in your face?  Perhaps are you sweating or your heart beating a bit faster.  Simply notice what you notice.

Now see if you can take a trip with me to the beach.  I totally get if this feels silly but try to play along.  Picture yourself parking your car at the beach.  You get out and grab your beach bag, sunglasses, and tall water bottle along with your chair.  You walk up the boardwalk and already you feel grains of sand in your flip flops.  You do not mind because as you continue walking you smell that smell.  The ocean.  It reminds you of that Bath and Body Works candle you burn all winter long waiting for the warmer temperatures to finally arrive.  Notice the changes in your face.  Are you smiling?  Are your eyes opening wider?

Forget the sandals.  You take them off and let your feet touch the sand.  Arriving early enough to the beach, perhaps on Sanibel Island or on Fort Myers Beach the sand is warm. As you find a perfect spot to set up you notice the water ahead with shades of blue and white tops as the waves crash.  Listen now for the water.  Imagine yourself sitting in your chair with your book in hand.  Behind you may be homes you dream of renting one day for a girls’ weekend or a family get together. Hear the laughter of kids building sandcastles or throwing a frisbee.  As you picture this scenario see if you can imagine how you would continue feeling.

Working with patience requires a plan.  Think of it as a 3-step plan.  All of them are important.  Please give yourself room and space to learn and practice.

3-STEP PLAN TO WORK WITH YOUR PATIENCE.

  1. Always remain open and aware of possible external triggers that challenge your patience.

Over the next week or two be your own investigator recognizing people, places, or things that challenge your patience.  I encourage you to write them out or keep a list in your phone.  When we know our triggers, we can have a working relationship with them.  Meaning, once we know them, we have the awareness and can utilize strategies (like the beach visualization above) to become grounded again.

  1. When we feel our patience being pulled on, slow down and breathe slowly

Reflect on the great work you did above recalling internal changes from within you or your behaviors when you remembered a challenging time in the past with your patience.  Those internal feelings or behaviors can run like a marathon on you unless you slow it down.  Breathe slowly when this occurs.

  1. Create a list of coping strategies that work for you to feel more grounded.

Let us chat about your toolbox of coping strategies for when your patience gets tested.  I intentionally wrote “when” instead of “if” as it will happen.  Remember, above we acknowledged our humanness.  When this occur at home take the time-out.  I want you to have a plan what you will do with it.  Take another moment here to thing about what soothes you.  Are you a physical release person?  Find a short workout or stretching video on YouTube and have it just a click away if needed.  Appreciate writing?  Fabulous.  Find a container and place a pen and notebook or journal in it.  Music you soothing jam.  Create a list of songs or apps and place it in the container.  There are dozens of apps such as insight timer, Calm, Headspace.  Needing a visualization? Go back to the exercise you did above.  It may benefit you to have a toolbox for yourself at home as well as written in your phone as we know life happens and being prepared fosters healthy responses instead of reactivity.

My hope is with these tips the days of verbally punishing yourself when you “lose your patience” starts to decrease and with the endgame being it no longer occurs.   Please give yourself time.  The fact that you have noticed you want to change this behavior shows awesome insight.  You bet I am high fiving you!!  Call the office at 239-848-2022 or schedule a session online at www.heleneshute.com by clicking “book it” if you want additional support and someone else in your cheerleading corner.



helene@heleneshute.com
239-848-2022

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