Access Angle: Patience Makes Us Better People

Gabriel Ryan, School Health Blog Writer and Contributor


Patience Makes Us Better People

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal, state, and county health departments, places of work, and schools have increased their focus on mental health and well-being. Resources have expanded through the radio, television, and social media. One example of a collection of resources for students, families and school districts can be found at this County Office of Education website. Their mental health experts have curated emotional well-being resources focused on Managing Anxiety During COVID-19. These resources are a great support as people adjust and adapt at home, at work, and at school as new guidelines, processes and procedures are outlined in our communities across the nation.


There are several aspects of mental health and well-being. One aspect often overlooked is…PATIENCE. Patience is the ability to calm the mind under stress so we can see our way clearly.


The global pandemic experience is different for everyone. Many people seem short tempered, overwhelmed, and busier than ever. Patience seems to have worn thin much more quickly for so many people. This is noticeable in all forms of communication and interaction, in person, on the phone, through media and online platforms. There are several reasons why patience levels are down or missing altogether. The last year and a half has brought forth an abundance of disagreements, hurt, confusion, fear, misunderstanding and the list goes on. There have been continuous changes in policies and procedures related to masking, social distancing, vaccinations, etc., which have contributed to the misunderstandings and frustration. In addition to the changes of rules and mandates, let’s also remember thousands of people stayed away from public places and not experienced the sights and sounds for a long time. People adjusted their day-to-day routines which can create a mix of anxiety and uncertainty about re-integrating in to the newer normal routines.


Many people are able to pick up on these changes quickly and just move about their day but this is not the case for everyone. Some individuals have a difficult time with transitioning from one activity or environment to the next. Changes to the rules and process may increase anxiety and confusion. These can all lead to lack of patience. Are you patient with yourself? What about with others?


I recently noticed when visiting stores and restaurants, I am a bit more sensitive to loud noises and people moving quickly toward me. My glasses fog up while wearing my mask. Between the fog and the mask itself, my vision is obstructed which can be an issue driving a power wheelchair and trying to be careful to not run into anyone or anything. I’m not always clear what the expectations are or what the updated policies require. I noticed feeling slightly on edge, because like many others, I have not frequented too many public places for a while. I’ve had to practice self-patience as I reintegrate into these activities again. Being aware of these feelings has helped me to find ways to adjust and cope. Practicing patience with myself has also increased my level of patience with others. I share this personal experience as just one example. You never know how those around you are handling these circumstances.


We all lose patience occasionally, we become frustrated and upset, confused, etc. It’s a part of life, but too much and too often can be stressful and can affect the people around us as well.


How do we learn and practice patience? What can we do to help ourselves and others?

Well a quick internet search of the word “patience” brings up 492 million results, not super helpful if you are already overwhelmed. A quick two minute video and related article by Mind Tools on How to Be Patient may be a great place to start. The article includes helpful links and brief highlights of the varieties of patience, benefits, and understanding impatience.

Since we do not control all things and people may not always agree with our points of view, by increasing our own practice of patience, we can more easily let go of things outside of our control and live with less stress, anxiety, and frustration.


Watch Gabe's video