I feel frustrated, what can I do? 4 ways to deal with frustration
Learning to deal with frustration is not easy, but why should it be? I can become very frustrated, very quickly. In fact, it was one of the things my old manager pointed out to me: when things get very busy and I have too much on my plate, I become frazzled and I find life hard. That’s OK – as I have gotten older I am getting better and better with managing my emotions and managing my frustrations when it comes to completing tasks quickly and efficiently.
Frustrations in a past job
I used to work in radio, you may know this if you are a regular reader of my blog. In radio, there is lots of stuff happening all at once, and multitasking becomes less a skill and more of a necessity. I used to work on one of the biggest breakfast shows in the country. Just looking at managing the audio feeds of a show, I had to monitor the two hosts’ talk breaks, the news feed, the traffic feed, 15 lines of callers from the outside world, five lines of internal phone lines, the audio coming from the production booth (if we needed special sound effects, promos and other things made) and the comments and requests of my two fellow producers. It was madness.
Multiple problems, all at once!
Everything was fine, so long as everything was going according to plan. When something wasn’t – stress would occur – and occur badly. People would be yelled at, tempers would flare, staff members would literally run – as fast as they could – to right occasional problems. I had to learn to cope with stress and frustration.
I get older – but I am still frustrated!
These days, I am finding myself immensely frustrated. I get annoyed when things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to and I get frustrated when I have to learn something new, or take a pause from something to do something else when I am very busy. I have been spending some time researching how you can cope with frustration to make sure that it doesn’t ruin your day (or your life!).
Here are 4 ways to deal with frustration when it hits
“You’ve done it before and you can do it now,” says US footballer Ralph Marston. “See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”
1. Look at the triggers that cause you frustration
Personally, I get very upset when I lose or misplace things, when I can’t find my way, when I am running late and when I am served something to eat or drink that I am not happy with. I know this sounds terrible – but I have identified these triggers.
My crazy example: The Boyf once saw me get very upset when we were travelling and a lady gave me a slightly cold $3 takeaway pie. She offered to heat it up and when it came back it still wasn’t hot. I avoided getting upset in the shop but I was so visibly distressed at this minor problem that it made me remember that ‘being served food I don’t like’ is one of my triggers. Now The Boyf very nicely orders for me in many situations because I find the process stressful.
2. Employ a counter-thought
Do you have a problem with mental chatter? Often when we are frustrated, our minds start to talk to us. Don’t worry! This is not really you – this is just part of you and you can control frustrating thoughts by employing a counter-thought.
My crazy example: I wrote a post called The One Trick I am Using to Stop My Negative Thoughts from Destroying Me and it was when I was going through bad break up and I was being plagued by awful, soul-destroying thoughts, day and night. The thoughts were that I was a terrible person and that nobody would love me. It’s important to combat negative thinking by counter-thinking. Don’t think, “This person at work is driving me crazy and they always make my life hard and I am likely to get no work done,” think instead, “This colleague is having a bad day, they are often efficient and hard working, I will cut them some slack while I continue with my own projects.” To deal with frustration is to learn a new skill.
3. See things as they are, not how you would want them to be
From wikihow: “Your expectations of others and of how the world works is formed over many years…and sometimes your personal overlay is defective; it might have (once) been a source of self-protection but when it continues to advise you poorly, then it is stuck in time.”
My crazy example: My ex never wanted to commit to me, despite him constantly telling me that he did. Rather than accept what I was experiencing (the fact that he wanted to maintain his own home, the fact that he didn’t want to connect with my family and friends), I saw things as I wanted them to be – and in doing so, did myself a massive injustice. I failed to see the writing on the wall because I blatantly refused to accept the reality of my situation.
4. Focus on a specific issue
Often when things get tough and life becomes frustrating, we start to lump everything together. A friend of mine once told me the “bubble theory”. You have your career in one bubble, your family in another, your finances in a separate bubble and your health in yet another bubble still.
Don’t lump all your bubbles together. When your health is poor, don’t start to ruminate over your finances. Keep your bubbles separate and don’t sweat about everything all at once. Compartmentalising your problems can be a great strategy. When you can deal with frustration, you can deal with anything.
My crazy example: I find it very draining to keep problems to myself when I am frustrated. I also tend to get into a destructive frame of mind, “Everything is falling apart!” There have been some times in my life when everything HAS fallen apart – and I somehow survived. There was a moment about 18 months ago when I felt worse than I ever have; my partner had left me and was not taking my calls, I had just lost my job and I was extremely worried about my finances and health. I woke up from a dream, and remembered that this nightmare was my real life. That was one of the worst three days of my life – but I survived.
I am happy and feeling well, but I still get very frustrated. I am a grown woman but sometimes I get so frustrated that I want to cry. Today they gave me a new computer at work and I hate it. The Boyf would tell me to be grateful (and rightfully so!) but I have had a day of crashed files and missing programs. I am very frustrated today. Trying to deal with frustration is never easy, but it can be done.
What frustrates you? How do you cope? Please tell me in the comments below.