Frustration creeps up when you want something to be other than what it is—a different time, different place, different house, different job, different feeling, etc. At certain times, frustration occurs when your deepest desires are not being met or when you feel trapped or stuck in a situation and it doesn’t seem to change.
Frustration is bound to happen at one time or the other. It can drain you out of all your energy. Most of the times you learn to deal with it. However, there are times when frustration gets hold of you and you start spending your days wallowing in despair. You lose your motivation and are on the verge of giving up.
Know that life will always present challenges and problems. It is your job to discover ways to stop yourself from giving in to the feelings of hopelessness. Before your frustration leads to more negative emotions such as anger or despair, learn to deal with it.
Here are few suggestions to turn things around and deal with frustration and irritation:
- Learn to accept the reality. When the situation is beyond your control, accept that you have no control over the situation. No matter how much you struggle against it, you will simply be wasting your energy to make yourself feel better. Acknowledge the situation and know that it will teach you something.
- Remember what you resist persists. The more you resist something, the more it will come up in your life. You usually get what you think about all the time. When you resist something, you are thinking specifically about what you don’t want. And you get what you think about all day long.
- Rate your frustration. Certain times rating your frustration will help you deal with it. For instance: If you think waiting in traffic is terrible, ask yourself, “How terrible it can be?” Ask yourself, “Can it be as bad as losing your family or getting fired?”
When you place “waiting in traffic for 10 minutes” next to the worst instances that might have happened to you in the past, you may realize that it may not be the worst thing that ever happened to you. Suddenly you will notice your frustration level going down.
- Pause and evaluate your situation. When you are frustrated, stop yourself and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself what is making you feel frustrated? Then do things that will help you deal with frustration. For instance, if your girlfriend is making you wait at a coffee shop, then use this time to read a book or catch up with a friend on phone. Or, simply just sit back and relax. When you make an active choice instead of just reacting to the stressful situation, you feel more in control of your life. This will improve your ability to deal with frustration and irritation.
- Find out the reason. Find out the reason behind the situation that’s causing you to feel frustrated. It might make you feel better when you know that things are happening for your own good.
For instance, you might be frustrated when your flight gets delayed, but it was meant to happen to avoid dangerous situations. It might have been a blessing in disguise for you.
- Shift your focus. When you are frustrated, it’s easy to get caught in a spiral of anger and despair. At such times, shift your focus. Get involved in small yet demanding activities. Engage yourself in it.
- Focus on the present. When you are irritated and frustrated, you are not in the present. Most of the times, your mind is somewhere you wish to be, you are probably in the future or reliving an experience in your past. Instead, make your mind focus on the present moment.
Watch out of your window and focus on the sunshine, kids playing in the neighborhood, someone walking down the street, etc. Focus on the present moment for 1 to 2 minutes. This will get your attention back.
- Focus on your breathing. Focusing on your breathing will help you be in the present moment. Close your eyes and take deep breaths and focus on the rhythm of your breath. Closing your eyes will bring your focus on the task at hand.
- Appreciate and be grateful. When you are frustrated, the easiest and quickest way to deal with frustration and irritation is by appreciating what you have in your life. Make a list of things that you are grateful for. For instance, your family, your job, your friends, etc. When you spend a few minutes looking at the positives in your life, it will lower your frustrations and irritations.
- Set goals. By setting goals, you are taking steps to find a solution to your problem. When you set goals, it makes you feel motivated as you know that you are working on the problem instead of just being frustrated. For instance, when you are finding it tough to work on the book you are writing, set a goal to write a certain number of chapters per week. This will help you stay focused as you know you would reach your goal, no matter how much time it would take. This will keep you motivated and will help abate any feelings of frustration.
- Find multiple solutions. When you are frustrated know that every problem has multiple solutions. You just need to find them. Ask yourself to come up with 10 possible options to your problems. Simply knowing that you have a number of solutions to your problems can make you feel better.
- List the possible actions. Ask yourself, “What are the things that I could do to improve my current situation?” See what you can learn from your frustration and try another path to reach your goals.
- Find something positive about the situation. Look at the positive aspect of your situation. It will make you change your perspective. When you change the way you look at things, it improves your mood and also offer solutions to your problems.
- Visualize a positive outcome of the situation. Imagine yourself achieving your desired outcome. What will the outcome look like? How would it make you feel? Visualize yourself successfully achieving your goals. Focus on it. Take your time to visualize and feel it. It will keep you inspired.
- Remember the last time you were frustrated. Try to think of the last time you were frustrated about something. The situation probably improved after a while. You might remember that your feelings of frustration did not really help you solve your problem.
- Talk about it. Talking with someone about your frustration can go a long way to curb your irritation. For instance, if you are frustrated about issues between you and your spouse, schedule a couple’s therapy session; if you are flustered about your child’s temper tantrums, arrange a consultation with a child psychologist. At certain times, simply confiding in a friend or a relative can help you deal with your struggles. Whatever it is, don’t keep it inside, let it out. If you let it grow inside you, it will explode one or the other day.
- Journal it. Start maintaining a journal. Write down all your fears, frustration, and irritation in detail. You will end up feeling better. Writing will help you reduce your frustration and will make it appear more manageable.
- Keep an accomplishment list. Write down everything that you accomplish in a notepad. Keep a monthly log where you note down all that you have accomplished in a month. Your accomplishments will motivate you and help you lower your frustration.
- Go for a run or do yoga. Any kind of exercise will help you become mindful and will shift your focus. Exercise involves repetitive movements that are kind of a meditation that will help calm your mind.
- Be helpful. Instead of focusing on your irritation and frustration, if you start focusing on helping someone else you worry less about your own problems. You start feeling as if your problems are never really a big deal.
- Write about the worst thing that can happen. Think about the worst thing that can happen to you. Write about it. List everything that can go wrong in your life—physical loss, tragedy, and emotionally draining experiences. Foresee how things will be if everything turns out as bad as possible. Write it down. When you do this, you will notice that things actually don’t look as bad you thought it to be.
- Get creative. Think of ways to find clever solutions and strategies to your problems. For instance, if you are having financial problems, think of ways to make money. Take a look at your talents and find a way to use it to make money. If you are good at cooking, do some local catering, or if writing is your forte, try blogging in your spare time. Blogging can expose you to income earning opportunities. This will help you tackle your money problems and reduce your frustrations by letting you earn some extra income.
- Read something funny. Reading funny things will help you shift your focus and will also give you a temporary break. It will help you approach your problems with a refreshed mind and will help you get a different perspective.
- Be around positive people. Being surrounded by optimistic people will make you feel inspired and motivated. It will further help you lower your frustrations.
- Sleep over it. Go to bed with the determination of finding a resolution. Don’t try to find a solution; just prepare to get out of the frustrating thought pattern. During night, your mind will try to come up with solutions or outcomes that will make you feel stronger. Relaxing your mind can do wonders for your tired mind.
- Take a walk. When frustrated, take a long walk. Walking will help you clear your mind and will help you put your thoughts in order. It will also help you deal with frustration and irritation.
- Stop blaming yourself. Rather than blaming yourself constantly, try to find solutions to your problems. Blaming will make you harness more negativity and will do you more harm in the long run. If it’s your fault, accept it and take responsibility.
- Look at yourself as an observer. When you look at yourself as an observer, you notice things that you otherwise overlook. Try to look at how you behave and act when frustrated? What words do you usually speak when irritated? Write it down. This will help you look at yourself as someone else and will help you take control over your frustration.
- Expose yourself to such situations. To raise your tolerance for frustration, start exposing yourself to frustrating situations. Create a list of situations in which you tend to get frustrated. Commit yourself to face such situations once in a week or so. For instance, if waiting in a queue irritates you, make it a point to go to a coffee shop in the peak hour when you know you will have to wait in a queue to grab a cup of coffee. Do this thrice a week. This will raise your tolerance gradually.