Patience: Because We All Need to Practice

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Patience: Because We All Need to Practice

In this installment of Wit and Wisdom for Well-Being, we bring you: patience.

Patience is a virtue. This is likely not the first time you’ve seen this phrase. Defined, patience is an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. Practicing patience and holding it as a virtue is a different story.

During the hustle of the holiday season, patience can be a bit elusive. There are generally more tasks to get done, peaks in travel, and many people are trying to cram all their important holiday traditions into a short window of time.

A meme I saw recently may explain it a bit better:

“Be kind, you never know what someone is going through.

And also me: Nice turn signal, jerk.”

While the meme itself, and the latter half specifically, is meant for humor, I found this message resonated with me.

While we should be showing patience and compassion for others throughout the year, the holiday season tends to be when people show the best and worst sides of themselves. We often assume that everyone else is dealing with the same stressors that are front of mind for us, or conversely, that our urgent need is somehow more important than everyone else’s. Other times, we may try to share holiday cheer with others and can become disappointed or frustrated when they don’t display the level of enthusiasm we expected.

For better or worse, all these emotions, assumptions, and patience itself, are housed within us—and come with being human. And unlike the actions of others, our response to others is under our control. In fact, practicing patience is not only a great way to show kindness to others, but it can actually be good for your own well-being.


According to research, there are several different types of patience. The first is called interpersonal patience. This is less focused on the action of waiting for the traffic to move when you are in a hurry and more about practicing patience, mental calm, and composure when dealing with people that annoy you.

The second type of patience is called ‘life hardship’ and is exactly as its title describes. This is the patience that is shown when you are laid off from a job and remain patient and hopeful as you submit one application after another.

The last type of patience explored in this study is aptly named as well, called ‘daily hassles patience.’ This is where that traffic jam example comes into play.

The good news is that research found that those who demonstrated more patience in all of these different situations reported being more hopeful, less depressed, and more satisfied with their lives, all important indicators of good emotional and mental well-being.

So, what does this mean for those of you who white-knuckle the steering wheel while spewing profanities? It means there is room for improvement. And what better time to practice patience than during the holiday season?

This same research found that those who learned to identify their triggers and regulate their responses, and those who worked to empathize with others, were able to practice more patience and reported more positive feelings and emotions overall.

For those who are already practicing patience, keep going! You are setting a good example for others. For those who are still honing their skills, patiently…


  1. (From Ted Lasso) Be curious, not judgmental. Practicing empathy means taking the time to learn about others around you. Everyone has their own unique experiences that made them who they are today. Try not to assume that everyone has the same traditions you do. Take time to ask your colleagues what is special to them around this time of year.
  2. Find the silver lining. Practicing gratitude can be a great way to reframe a potentially frustrating situation. Perhaps the next time you are waiting in line, take some time to send a kind note to a friend, colleague, or loved one letting them know they are appreciated. It will make both of you feel good.
  3. Take a deep breath. Before you succumb to your initial reaction of frustration, or your impulse to scream, take a deep breath, and acknowledge your feelings. Then focus on your ideal goal or outcome and work towards a more patient and productive response.

As always, we’re here to help. If you have any questions, thoughts, ideas, or would like to learn more about how Stok and our subject matter experts can support your organization, please reach out.