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As flaws go, the detriments of being a type A person are very well established in the medical literature but did anyone ever research the opposite end of the spectrum. Well today, we will discuss the health benefits of being a patient person. Something I never have been.
Being patient means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity.
All religions and many philosophers have long praised the virtue of patience; now researchers are starting to do so as well. Recent studies have found that, sure enough, good things really do come to those who (can) wait. Some of these science-backed benefits are detailed below, along with waysto cultivate more patience in yourself.

Patient people enjoy better mental health

This finding is probably easy to believe if you call to mind the stereotypical impatient person: face ready to implode. And sure enough, according to a 2007 study by Fuller Theological Seminary professor Sarah A. Schnitker and UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions, perhaps because they can cope better with upsetting or stressful situations. They also rate themselves as more mindful and feel more gratitude, more connection to mankind and to the universe, and a greater sense of abundance.
Finally, patience over daily hassles—traffic jams, long lines at the grocery store, a malfunctioning computer—seems to go along with good mental health. In particular, people who have this type of patience are more satisfied with life and less depressed.

These studies are good news for people who are already patient, but what about those of us who need to become more patient? In her 2012 study, Schnitker invited 71 undergraduates to participate in two weeks of patience training, where they learned to identify feelings and their triggers, regulate their emotions, empathize with others, and meditate. In two weeks, participants reported feeling more patient toward the trying people in their lives, feeling less depressed, and experiencing higher levels of positive emotions. In other words, patience seems to be a skill you can learn and doing so might bring benefits to your mental health.
Patient people are kinder people

As a result of 10 months of meditation, one day recently I realized that my Type A qualities were inherently unkind, even to myself…

d to be more cooperative, more empathic, more equitable, and more forgiving. “Patience involves emphatically assuming some personal discomfort to alleviate the suffering of those around us,” write Debra R. Comer and Leslie E. Sekerka in their 2014 study.

Evidence of this is found in a 2008 study that put participants into groups of four and asked them to contribute money to a common pot, which would be doubled and redistributed. The game gave players a financial incentive to be stingy, yet patient people contributed more to the pot than other players did.
In Schnitker’s 2012 study they summarized… “Patience may enable individuals to tolerate flaws in others, therefore displaying more generosity, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness,” write Schnitker and Emmons in their 2007 study.
On a group level, patience may be one of the foundations of civil society. Patient people are more likely to vote, an activity that entails waiting months or years for our elected official to implement better policies. Evolutionary theorists believe that patience helped our ancestors survive because it allowed them to do good deeds and wait for others to reciprocate, instead of demanding immediate compensation (which would more likely lead to conflict than cooperation). In that same vein, patience is linked to trust in the people and the institutions around us.
Patience helps us achieve success

The road to achievement is a long one, and those without patience—who want to see results immediately—may not be willing to work at it. Many people think they are “above” starting at bottom and working up. Presumably because they do not have the patience to wait it out.

In her 2012 study, Schnitker also examined whether patience helps students get things done. In five surveys they completed over the course of a semester, patient people of all stripes reported exerting more effort toward their goals than other people did. Those with interpersonal patience in particular made more progress toward their goals and were more satisfied when they achieved them (particularly if those goals were difficult) compared with less patient people. According to Schnitker’s analysis, that greater satisfaction with achieving their goals explained why these patient achievers were more content with their lives as a whole.

Patience is linked to good health

The study of patience is still new, but there’s some emerging evidence that it might even be good for our health. In their 2007 study, Schnitker and Emmons found that patient people were less likely to report health problems like headaches, acne flair-ups, and digestive disorders such as: ulcers, diarrhea, and IBS also in low immunity and pneumonia. Other research has found that people who exhibit impatience and irritability—a characteristic of the Type A personality—tend to have more health complaints and worse sleep. If patience can reduce our daily stress, it’s reasonable to speculate that it could also protect us against stress’s damaging health effects. I have seen this in myself and many of my clients.
How to cultivate patience:

Practicing Mindful meditation or loving kindness meditation will lead to increased patience over time but it is a process and a commitment.

Daily Yoga Practice is also a way to get more in touch with yourself and the present moment and learn patience.

Lastly, practicing gratitude will lead to a more kind and patient perspective.

Should you wish to learn more, schedule an appointment. I’d love to assist you with this.

Find more information at Greater Good, the online magazine of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, one of Mindful’s partners. View the original article.

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Taryn DeCicco ND, LAc, LDN of Apple A Day Clinic in Arlington Heights, IL has been specializing in Acne, Skin, and Digestive Disorders for over 16 years.