Frustration is a sour reaction to unfulfilled needs and the accompanying obstacles. You’ll be beleaguered by all manner of things, like not getting a good grade or being cut off while driving. Wanting the feeling to go away pushes you toward maladaptive behavior. Because of this reaction, it’s essential to learn how to manage frustration.
That could include plotting to get back at someone or throwing temper tantrums, self-destructive means of coping. This sort of unchecked resentment only causes more frustration in the end. Facing frustration requires you to rise above reflexive emotion and be patient, which is easier said than done.
Here are eight positive ways to manage frustration and ways to avoid it.
1. Be A Proactive Problem-Solver
The last thing you want is to stew in the pit of frustration, complaining that things aren’t going your way. You always have the power to move in the right direction. Simply deciding to be proactive will have a positive effect on your outlook.
· Own Your Decisions
Instead of remaining frustrated at what’s going on, figure out how you’ll prevent it from happening again. Think carefully about the way your own decisions got you where you are. Admitting your mistakes empowers you to take action.
Incrementally figure out what needs to get done to improve things. Make a list of tasks in order of priority to tackle your frustrations gradually. Looking back on what you’ve completed will be a major source of relief when you’re managing your emotions.
· Subtle Changes Can Help You Manage Frustration
Long-term change can involve addressing little things that frustrate you throughout the day. If you don’t have enough space, move some furniture. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, buy a sleeping mask. Identify small problems so that you aren’t blindsided later.
2. Put Things In Perspective
It’s too easy to be ruled by of-the-moment emotion when you don’t know how to manage frustration. Stop and put things in perspective, so you don’t fly off the handle. You don’t want the embarrassment of a misunderstanding or outburst.
Frustration can make you write things off, enforcing black-and-white thinking that stops you from accepting what happens. You have to pause to accept people despite their flaws and accept situations that aren’t perfect. Lacking this nuance begs for overwrought reactions.
Dr. Alex J. Lickerman, MD, advises that you distract yourself from frustration by focusing on what you’re grateful for rather than trying to suppress or ignore the feeling. To help this along, he says to imagine what it would be like losing someone or something.
· Devil’s Advocate
Challenge yourself to imagine how things could be worse and to focus on what’s gone right. By playing devil’s advocate, you’ll find there’s often another side to the story. You can minimize your problems when you realize how good you have it.
3. Be Careful Of Your Triggers
You can lose control of frustration when you get emotionally triggered. This can ruin your day and bring back feelings you thought were resolved. Dealing with your triggers isn’t a matter of paranoid avoidance but ongoing determination.
· Journal It
Write down what you think is triggering your frustration. To understand yourself, you can examine and pick apart things that bother you. You might get at the origin of why you feel as you do, deflating the power of triggers.
· Reassure Yourself That You CAN Manage Your Frustration
On certain days, pre-emptively recite a mantra that resists your triggers. You might say “I’m responsible” or “I’m not scared of them,” something you need to believe so you can heal. Hear these words enough, and they’ll become your reality.
· Play The Part
While you’re triggered and feeling frustrated, act as if you aren’t. Step into the role of a level-headed character and feel the opposite of what you normally would. You won’t worry about your triggers as much if you meet them with outright defiance.
4. Lighten The Mood With Humour
Everything is better with humor. Tell jokes, say an amusing word, do something to lighten the mood when you’re down. You may not think you’re up for it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
· Laughter Is An Excellent Management Tool For Frustration
Literally, laugh it off. When you’re frustrated, force yourself to laugh and not take things too seriously, even if that seems weird. Whether you’re ready, laughter can release dopamine and distract you from your troubles.
· Bring Up A Story
If you’re feeling frustrated and someone is with you, share a funny story regardless of whether that person played a role in your frustration. Building bridges is a cathartic thing, and you might look back on your shared laughter fondly.
· Rely On Your Memories
Some memories are so funny that you can recall them and feel like you’re still there. Take advantage of that when you’re frustrated, and you can hopefully elicit laughter. If not, it could at least instill some positive thinking.
Frustration throws your mind out of control, and only you can whip it into shape. Use various cognitive techniques to trick yourself into not being frustrated. You’ll need to summon your willpower lest negative emotions intrude on your peace.
· Positive Visualization
Positive visualization is a more disciplined version of daydreaming. When you’re about to do something, picture how things could go smoothly and what that might feel like. This will keep your eyes on the prize. So when you must manage frustration, you can toss the negativity aside because you want what you had imagined.
If a situation is distressing, self-distance yourself by pretending you’re viewing events from a ways off, like an observer rather than a participant. Assess things responsibly and manage yourself. Research shows that this can quell your frustration in the heat of the moment, keeping you calm when provoked.
· Now Isn’t The Time
You can convince yourself not to be frustrated by saying you’ll handle it later. Pointedly tell yourself that you’re busy, that you’ll be frustrated when no one else is around, or you have more time. The hope is that you never really have to feel it because you forget you were frustrated altogether.
6. Don’t Lose Sight Of Yourself
Who are you, and who do you want to be? Getting frustrated can often obscure those things, sending you in downward spirals. You act out, disappointing yourself with your unpleasantness. Overcome your frustration by holding on to your sense of self.
· Open-Ended Introspection
When you’re grappling with the frustration, you need time alone with yourself to uncover what’s holding you back. It would be best if you got introspective about the person you are and what makes you tick. Don’t let frustration become the norm for you when you could be nurturing your real personality.
· Your Vision For The Future
Every time frustration gets the better of you. You’re failing yourself and your plans for the future. Make it a point for your ambitions to stay on your mind so you can get closer to the life you want. When you’re frustrated, remember that you can’t afford to waste time when you could be achieving your goals.
· You And Your Loved Ones
The people close to you would be disappointed if they saw you in the throes of frustration. If they believe you’re better than that, so can you. Keep your loved ones on your mind so you don’t forget who you are and the larger role you play. When you feel like whining, imagine what they might say in disapproval.
7. Confront Your Emotions
Your thorny, volatile emotions can’t be left to fester, and managing them goes beyond positive thinking. Inner feelings fuel and are exacerbated by frustration, sticking you in a cycle of turmoil. This has to be confronted fiercely, not brushed off.
· Admit You’re The Source
Don’t blame others for your shortcomings. Admit that you are ultimately responsible for wrangling with your own emotions. You may not like what someone else has done, but blaming them will not solve whatever emotional problems are eating at your innards.
· Bottled-Up Emotions
Research shows that people who keep their emotions bottled up are more likely to act aggressively afterward. Having to control and suppress oneself too much and too often is bad for emotional regulation. It’ll get easier and easier to be frustrated if you don’t acknowledge what you’re feeling and how you plan to improve it.
· Ask Questions
Ask yourself why a certain emotion that leads to frustration is occurring at all. There must have been something that made you angrily shout. There must have been something that made you sadly give up on what you were looking forward to. Retrace your steps to emotionally charged incidents that damaged you, and determine how to get over them.
8. Have Candid Conversations
There comes a time for expressing your feelings, and there’s only so much you can do on your own. If you’re frustrated, say something since it’s better that people know. Too often, people assume that speaking up is rude when it’s actually productive.
· Split The Burden
Frustration is such a burden, so it becomes that much more manageable when others hear what you’re going through. Just the thought that you’re not alone can be enough to drown out burgeoning negativity. Allow this to foster positive thinking throughout the day.
· Feel Embarrassed
When you talk about your frustrations with others, that might help you realize how petty and unimportant some of your concerns are. It might be embarrassing, but it’s better than remaining frustrated. It’s healthy to have people around who can put things in perspective for you.
· It’s The Talk That Counts
Research shows that it can be the act of talking itself, not necessarily sage advice, that relieves people of what’s bothering them. Frustration is often a private matter, so verbalizing what you’ve felt is bound to provide some catharsis. You never know how you’ll feel until you try, so don’t chicken out.
Obviously, everybody gets frustrated. This stems from the fact that you can’t always have what you want. And life isn’t very fair. There will be plenty of times when it seems like things should have gone your way but are a total bust. A great deal of facing it involves delaying gratification and getting used to being disappointed. On the journey of learning to do that, you’ll often be your own worst enemy. Yet you’re more powerful than you know, so feel frustration, contemplate it, and then let it go.