Certain attributes-such as grit, gratitude and resilience-have risen out of positive psychology research as traits to cultivate for maximum well-being. We imagine them as singular qualities to be worked on one at a time and added to our personal stockpile of weapons against negativity. But of course, all of these characteristics work together. Focus on awe, and you're very likely to become more grateful. Strengthen your self-compassion, and your resilience is bound to increase, too.
One virtue can serve as a gateway to the others: patience. As a stand-alone positive psychology buzzword, it's not as beefy as gratitude and resilience. Studies haven't borne out the connection between patience and well-being as strongly as they have with curiosity and creativity. But patience is so tightly knit into the fabric of these other qualities that it's hard to tell whether it's the cause or effect, says Bernard Golden, Ph.D., a psychologist in Chicago and author of Overcoming Destructive Anger and Unlock Your Creative Genius.
Breathe: If you feel yourself getting impatient, take three or four slow, deep breaths, suggests Golden. Exhale for twice as long as you inhale. Manage your expectations: Recognize when your emotional brain is influencing your expectations of a situation in the form of hopes and wishes, says Golden. "You may know that traffic is congested during rush hour, yet you still expect the roads to be clear," leading to massive irritation, he says. Allow extra time for your commute, and you will feel calmer.
Make a connection: Are you in the serpentine security line at the airport and feeling yourself getting increasingly annoyed? Make a joke about it with the person in front of you. Getting out of your own head and sharing the experience with someone else always diminishes frustration. And social interactions allow you to recognize others as fellow humans rather than obstacles in your way. (excerpt)
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