Take it Easy--and Get Healthier

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  • By Robin Westen

    Studies show taking it slow is good for our health and wellbeing. It lowers inflammation, stabilizes blood pressure, keeps glucose levels steady, helps in decision making and ultimately makes us happier. So, how can we put the brakes on a natural tendency to lose our patience?

    Give It a Day

    Take an entire day when you make it your goal to be patient. At the end of it, write down all the ways it helped you. Like any skill, developing patience takes practice. Try it once a week, until you can build up a tolerance for taking it easy.
  • Breathe When you’re frustrated and in a hurry, stop. Take several deep breaths. For example, if you're in a long lineup at the grocery store or in heavy traffic, make the decision to pause and not get worked up. Remind yourself that getting impatient won't make things move along any faster, so why get worked up for nothing? Now breathe deeply.
  • Practice Thinking before Speaking When we’re hurrying or letting emotions run wild, we often blurt out the first thought that comes into our heads. Next time hold your tongue, consider what you want to say first and think about the consequences. You can avoid hurting or offending others by slowing down reaction time.
  • Remind Yourself That Some Things Take Time Think about your happiest memories. Chances are, they were instances when your patience paid off, like when you worked steadily toward a goal that wasn't immediately gratifying, or took a little extra time to spend leisurely with a loved one. Would you have those memories if you had been impatient? Probably not. Good things may not always come to those who wait, but most good things that do come don't come right away.
  • Expect the Unexpected Yes, you have plans, but things don't always work out as planned. Accept the twist and turns in life gracefully. Keep your expectations realistic. This applies not only to circumstances, but also the behavior of those around you.

    About the Author

    Robin Westen is ThirdAge's medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her latest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."