Frustration seems to be plaguing me this week. Whether its my boss wanting last minute changes for a design project, or waiting for an oil change for two hours, life has been challenging. I’m not an angry person. I can’t even remember the last time I got mad, yelled at someone, or lost my temper. But I do experience irritation and frustration on a daily basis.
There are two main types of frustration: internal and external. Internal frustration occurs when things aren’t working the way you’d like. This could include feeling stuck in a dead-end job, worrying about relationships, etc. Although I experience internal frustration, I’d like to focus on external frustration. External frustration occurs when other people/things get in the way of your goals. For example, waiting in a grocery line can be frustrating because you’re thinking of everything you could be doing instead. This feeling can also come from co-workers, family, and even complete strangers. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this subject. Here are a few ideas I’ve found for dealing with frustration.
1. Analyze what triggers your frustration
When people interrupt my concentration, it irritates me. I also get frustrated when traffic/things beyond my control make me late. Those are just two things I’ve noticed so far. Understanding what triggers my frustration has made me aware of what I can expect. If I expect bad traffic, I can plan to leave a little earlier. Obviously, I can’t prepare for all situations, but its made me more aware of what I can control.
2. Take a break, practice deep breathing, repeat a calming phrase or word
When I realize that I’m tense, I’ll grab a cup of tea and do some deep breathing and stretching. I’ll usually repeat “its okay” in my head. These things help to break up the stressful situation and helps me view it from another perspective. Then when I’ve calmed down, I can tackle the next problem.
3. Change your expectations of others
At work I have often been frustrated by a co-worker’s lack of courtesy or their thoughtlessness. I realized I was holding them to the same unrealistically high expectations that I hold for myself. This isn’t fair to them. Once I understood that, I adjusted my expectations of them and was able to see all the positive things they were accomplishing.
4. Think before speaking or acting (don’t make decisions based on emotion)
While I have an extremely good handle on self-control, the impulse to act on emotion is still there. Words spoken in anger can’t be taken back. Much of the time, its far better to stay silent, rather than saying something that you will regret. If something needs to be said, discussions should occur when both parties are in full control of their emotions.
5. Relax, treat yourself, exercise to burn off frustration
Since starting to workout three times a week, I’ve noticed how much more relaxed I am during the week. Its amazing how calm and happy I am after a good workout (got to love those endorphins). And it doesn’t have to be at the gym. You can go for a run/walk, do yoga, or exercise at home. I love going for walks around the pond near my place. Being near the water is so calming and causes all my stress to dissipate. Also, treat yourself occasionally. Whether it be to a massage, a movie, or a special food item. In the summertime, I’ll buy fresh strawberries as a treat.
6. Accept frustration
Frustration is a part of life. Things will always happen to frustrate or irritate you. You can’t stop them from happening, but you can change the way they affect you. If you anticipate frustration, you won’t be surprised by it. And you’ll already know a few ways to deal with it 🙂
Do you have any tips for battling frustration?