Are you having a ‘F’ word moment? No, not that one, although it may or may not be appropriate depending on where you’re at right now. This is ‘F’ for frustration- are things not going as you planned? Despite all your plans and efforts, are you’re in a job you dislike, but feel it’s still not the right time to quit, maybe your business isn’t where you hoped it would be by now or you can’t seem to find that right person to share your life with. Perhaps somebody else’s behaviour is frustrating the hell out of you.
Well, before we look at how to deal with those feelings, first of all, lets get familiar with frustration itself and where it stems from.
What is frustration?
When you’re feeling frustrated, you’re actually having is an emotional reaction to being denied what you want, yeah, I know, seem a little childlike right, but it’s true! You may think the reason your frustrated is because things aren’t working out, someone hasn’t returned your call or you’re having a bad day, but when you break it down further you will see that what you’re really frustrated at, is what your current situation is denying you.
When you’re being blocked or denied something by external event or other people, those feelings of frustration are often indicative of not feeling in control of the situation.
Take that phone call, you’ve been waiting on, you’re getting more arsey by the minute that Janet in accounts hasn’t come back to you. She may be the focus of your frustration, but the real issue, is that you need to take that call before you can sign off on a task, and leave for home on time. So, what’s really happening here, is that you are being prevented from controlling what time you will leave the office and making it home…..hello frustration!
Why is this important? What does it matter exactly why I’m frustrated?
Well, because once you understand the real reason behind your feelings, it becomes easier to accept the situation for what it is- understanding leads to acceptance and accepting a situation for what it, means it becomes a lot more manageable or easier to let go of.
What you resist persist.
This thought has stuck with me since my counselling training days. Psychologist Carl Jung is noted for saying ‘What you resist not only persists but will grow in size’- so basically you can become stuck with what it is you’re trying to fight against, and get an extra helping of it too!- annoying huh
This applies to feelings of frustration, in the sense that, the more frustrated you become with a situation or person, the more you become entangled in it- your mindset gets set to negative mode, you are not as open to considering options or solutions and communication can break down; before you know it you can end up in a chain reaction of negative situations, interactions and behaviour.
Trying to suppress or ignore frustration often doesn’t work too well either, sometimes all it does is increase those feelings to the point you end up super stressed, in danger of lashing out, saying things out of anger and generally flouncing about the place in need of a serious attitude adjustment.
So, just how can we deal with frustration?
8 steps to dealing with frustration:
- Triggers- Be aware of what is triggering you, what situation, what people etc and learn to recognise when you’re starting to become frustrated. Think of it as an earlier warning system;the earlier you detect it, the easier it is to take control of the situation.
- Mindset- Check your thoughts, try not to dwell on the why’s- Why do things always go wrong?, why does this always happen to me? Why is my life such a struggle? Step away from feeling sorry for yourself, there is no solution to be found by holding a pity party.
- Clarity-Try to pinpoint why exactly you’re feeling frustrated. Remember it’s essentially an emotional reaction to being denied, so ask questions such as-What is this preventing me from doing? What is it blocking?
- Acknowledge- That you are in this situation? Sit with the impact or consequences of your current situation? This helps you to distance yourself from the feeling and see it as more of an action than an emotional reaction i.e this means I will be late home. This helps you to emotionally detach from the situation and enables you to start thinking about solutions and action instead.
- What’s my role- Be honest with yourself and check to see if you are part of the problem. Are you getting in your own way? Could you actually be creating the problem yourself? Therefore causing the feelings of frustration.
- Re-frame- Re-frame your perspective of what’s frustrating you, by seeing it as a challenge or a chance to tackle things differently. Try thinking of it as an opportunity to explore new methods or take a different approach; look upon upon it as a chance to expand your critical thinking, so you can arrive at the best possible solution.
- Focus- You can choose to focus on the frustrating situation at hand or you can choose to shift your focus to the potential solutions that will help you to move forward.
- Proactive- Take the initiative, is there anything that you can do your end to alleviate the situation and help things to get back on track. Can you make the call instead of waiting on it? Can you adjust your attitude or way of doing something to make things run more smoothly or open up more opportunities for progress. Can you can you communicate better?
- Learning- Look for what you can learn from the situation, is it showing you there’s a better way to approach things? Do you need to rethink how you are managing situations? Are you communicating as well as you could be with others?
Life is always going to be full of frustrations because, well, that’s life! There will always be times when things don’t go to plan or you get blind-sided by life events. Following the 8
steps in times of frustration will help you to handle the situation and below are a few more suggestion to help you to avoid becoming frustrated.
- Relax- Find ways to help you to relax, frustration often leads to stress. Manage the stress by trying breathing exercises, meditation, reading, listening to music, massage, getting out in nature or relaxing with friends.
- De-clutter- Have a good clear out, having a more organised and manageable environment can help you to feel calmer and enable you to approach other tasks or issues with a clearer mind. When you feel in control of your immediate environment it can help you to manage other areas of your life better – Clear out your closet, cupboards and work space.
- Support- Get to know what help and support is available to you, what resources are at hand that can help you to deal with your situation. There are so many resources out there from local to online-don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you can put together a good support system will give you options for managing future issues.
- Simplify- Take time to give your life an audit, like de-cluttering this can help you to feel more in control. Re-evaluate how you do things, your behaviour, outlook and relationships, if your life is over complicated then you are increasing the chance of becoming frustrated.
- Patience- It can be difficult to remain patient when you’re in a frustrating situation, particularly if it’s not resolving itself quick enough, but when you become to impatient with things, you can often miss the the opportunities or learning that can come from being in that place- There are many insights and skills that can be gained from frustrating and challenging situations.
Above remember that life is in a constant state of flux and nothing or any situation last forever.
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