If only life could always work for us in exactly the fashion that we expected, perhaps the incidence of negative emotions that have a lasting impact on your overall mental health would be minimized for good. But unfortunately, it isn’t how it works. Through all phases of life, it presents you with different challenges which usually get bigger and more complicated with time. Don’t get us wrong, we totally understand how these challenges are actually aimed at unleashing the best version of yourself at times. However, such is not the case in all circumstances. Or at least, we are too consumed in putting an effort to handle the problem that blinds us to the silver lining.
Whatever the scenario, there is no argument over the fact that frustration is one of the first emotions to pop up as soon as the things stop to go your way. Frustration doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age, gender, religion, caste, or creed. We’ve all had an experience of being frustrated with a given situation. Perhaps, it’s your day job that sometimes makes you feel like you’re wasting your life, or probably you don’t see your education helping you in any way in terms of your personal growth or job opportunities.
You can literally quote any experience of your life that fueled frustration and all of them would have a common feeling associated to them; the feeling of being helpless, the feeling of being stuck and the incapacity to see a way out regardless of how hard you try. Frustration is a kind of negative emotion that has a way to play with your mind and disable it from finding a solution. But here’s good news. There are a few simple tips and tricks that you can use to win the battle against frustration and be in charge of mind again.
Look For The Silver Lining
Yes, it is entirely true that it gets hard to see the silver lining when things aren’t working out for you. As mentioned before, frustration has a way of blinding you to that little positivity that can keep your morale high in a seemingly disastrous situation. This is why it is important to put a deliberate effort into finding that silver lining. More often than not, it is natural for us to find positivity in all scenarios as long as our judgment is not clouded with the likes of frustration. Under the latter circumstances, however, you need to be prepared to put a deliberate effort in hopes of succeeding at practicing optimism.
For instance, you are frustrated because it feels like you are wasting your life on a dead-end job. A simple and convenient way to tackle it would be to remind yourself of the money that you are making and how it is helping you accomplish your financial goals and securing a stable future for your loved ones. It will help you shift your focus from what’s frustrating about the situation to what is actually working for you.
Write Your Accomplishments In Your Journal
Many a time, being frustrated is only a matter of underestimating yourself or refusing to give yourself the credit that you deserve. Let’s face it; in this high-paced world that is getting more competitive by the day, it is hard for you to always find time to appreciate yourself for what you have accomplished. Nobody stops to look back and see how far they’ve come. It always feels like a race in which you must continue running ahead if you don’t want to be left out. Being competitive is good. But overdoing it to the extent that you forget to take a moment and pat yourself on the back for everything that you’ve accomplished so far can ultimately lead you into believing that you haven’t achieved anything in the first place.
If such a habit has been paving the way for frustration to find you, it is time that you get a journal and start writing about your daily accomplishments. It will help a great deal in giving you peace of mind at the end of each day. Make it a habit to go through all of your accomplishments at the end of each month. It will open your eyes to how much you have accomplished in a month without even realizing it. Once the sense of accomplishment starts to stir up, there is not an option left for frustration other than disappearing gradually.
Identify The Triggers
Have you ever noticed that certain situations are more likely to make you frustrated? It is not only when you are having a bad day but such circumstances have the potential to always push you into the ditch of frustration regardless of what mood you are in. Once you have been triggered to be frustrated, it is only a matter of time that things start to get out of control and you begin to frustrate over every other thing and ultimately end up telling yourself that nothing is working for you in your life and you are not in control of anything at all. Different people are triggered by different scenarios but being curious and keeping a keen observation can help a great deal in identifying your triggers. For instance, your trigger could be a traffic jam, or perhaps having to wait for someone when they are late.
As such, a simple yet effective strategy that you can deploy to cope with frustration and prevent yourself from acting out of it would be to avoid your triggers as much as possible. Yes, it is justified for you to question how could you possibly avoid a trigger when it’s not even in your control for the most part. For example, you don’t have control over a traffic jam or when a person is going to be later than the time that you agreed upon. But what you can do is divert your mind with an activity that keeps you entertained and prevent you from being triggered. In the example of a traffic jam as a trigger, you can keep a playlist of your favorite music in your car that you can listen to in order to shield yourself against frustration. It would be a good idea to keep a book with you that you can take out and read while waiting for someone who’s late. Once you feed your mind with a different activity to focus on, it is likely to let go of its infatuation with frustration.
Change Your Perspective
Remember that being frustrated is not always a matter of what’s happening at the moment. It may as well be derived from a different domain of your life that is casting its impact elsewhere. Haven’t you ever been mad at your child for no apparent reason just because you had a bad day at work? The same principle applies to frustration as well. This is what accentuates the importance of sitting with yourself in peace and having a conversation about what is it that’s actually wrong? Is there something that’s constantly bugging you?
For example, you may have given a presentation at work that didn’t go quite as well as you expected. It is natural for you to be frustrated in such a scenario. But it wouldn’t hurt to stop and think for a moment. Is it really the presentation that you are frustrated about? Or could it perhaps be your failing relationship with your partner that is tricking you into seeing an exaggerated version of all of your negative experiences? The sooner that you pinpoint the root cause of your frustration, the better are your chances of working on a solution. Simply put, if you have recently been frustrated about every other thing, it is perhaps time to make a thorough analysis of your life and see what changes are in the pipeline for the major domains.
Another important factor that could play a role in highlighting frustration as a dominant emotion is the way that you see it. In the above-mentioned example of an unsuccessful presentation at work, there are two ways for you to see it. You can either think of it as an utter failure, or you can consider it a minor delay in being successful. Which one do you think is likely to keep you frustrated in the long run?
Give Yourself A Little Break
One of the worst things that you can do to yourself when you are frustrated about a situation is being frustrated about the fact that you are frustrated about a situation. It essentially puts into action a vicious cycle. A situation frustrated you, you are now frustrated at being frustrated about what happened. With double the frustration, you are likely to be frustrated about every other thing from here on.
So, in hopes of coping with frustration, the first thing that you should do is to give yourself a little break and remind yourself that you are not the only one to experience this emotion. Tell yourself that it’s a common emotion for all mankind and everyone around you experiences it from time to time. Even better, you can choose to spend some quality time with your loved ones who are always there to support you. It’s always a great idea to share your frustration with them. Getting their feedback and letting them draw on their personal experiences with this emotion can certainly give you a little perspective of how it’s temporary and is likely to disappear with time.
Like all other negativities that you can possibly face, having social support can create a huge difference in effectively dealing with frustration.
Meditate To Clear Up Your Head
We established it at the beginning of this article that frustration has a lot to do with negativity that clouds your better judgment and blinds you to all the good around you. This implies that clearing up your head and showing your disturbing and troubling thoughts the way out of it should be an effective strategy to deal with frustration. When it comes up to activating the natural relaxation response of your body and instill calm and peace in your mind, there is hardly anything that works as impeccably as meditation and mindfulness.
Meditation is an ancient Buddhist practice, the benefits of which for mental health are known to the entire world in this time and age. It is particularly suitable for today’s lives, thanks to its time-effectiveness. A few minutes of meditation every day can serve to restore your mood, remove all the unnecessary thoughts and emotions like frustration, clear up your head, and essentially refresh your brain to prepare it well to start working optimally again. If you want to experience the true essence of being in charge of your mind, it is recommended to give meditation a go.
So, there you are. The above mentioned were the top six simplest yet highly effective tips and strategies that you can start using from today in an attempt to kiss frustration a goodbye. The important thing to remember is that frustration is just an emotion. And regardless of how negative it may be, being an emotion makes it liable to surrender as soon as you decide to get it under control. Submit to it and it will forever act like your boss and be the in charge of your mind.
It is noteworthy that following the tips mentioned above wouldn’t make you face fewer problems in your life. Depending on your circumstances, problems and challenges are a part of life. But what it’ll do for you is to enable you to see them for what they are and not an imaginary exaggerated version of the problem. You will start to feel more confident, in control, and more like a problem solver. You will see how the inconveniences of life stop to worry you as much and of course, how it’s harder than ever before for anything to get you frustrated anymore.