9 Tips for Handling Frustration in a Healthy Way
Are you feeling frustrated? Chances are you’ve been here before. You’ve probably even worked out some coping strategies for when you’re stressed. The problem is, some of those strategies aren’t the best, a fact you’re already aware of.
Handling stress in healthy ways is an ongoing challenge. That’s because when we’re frustrated, we tend to react rather than respond. We get frustrated when things don’t go our way, or we can’t do something we’d like (or others to do).
Frustration is a form of anger, although we often do not realize it as such. But it can elicit the same type of feelings and responses as when we are truly angry. The effects of holding onto frustration and anger can be harmful, physically, mentally, emotionally.
The good news is there are natural, healthy ways to deal with your frustration.
The first step in dealing with anything is to accept the reality of it. Once you’ve acknowledged you’re frustrated, you can do something about it, and it no longer rules your life. Go to the root-cause to determine what is leading to the frustration with either the situation or those involved; that is the key to resolving frustration, especially so it doesn’t happen again.
Send an S.O.S
Pretend you’re behind enemy lines and stuck there. You can ask for help, but you’ll need to ask for that help in a letter. Describe your distress, including all the details of how you got where you are. Ask for help. When finished? Destroy the letter. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel (and you might even get an idea for ‘rescue’ from the exercise).
Make a List
What are your options toward fixing whatever is causing the frustration? List everything you can think of, even the silly ideas. Use this list as a jumping off point toward finding a solution.
Read something funny. Watch a comedy. Tune in to your favorite comedian. The act of laughter releases endorphins in the brain, helping you to feel better and think more clearly. Frustration doesn’t stand a chance.
Look at the Big Picture
What will this frustration look like next week? Next month? Next year? Will it be as scary as it is today? Asking these kinds of questions helps you to put your frustration in perspective, making it smaller and easier to deal with right now.
Find Some Energy
Hang around people who are full of enthusiasm. Being around positive people helps you to remain positive and likewise energizes yourself. Frustration fades in this environment.
Talk about what’s frustrating you with someone else or post it on your social media. You’ll find out very quickly that you’re not alone. More importantly, you’ll see other people who have successfully gotten past this very same point.
Focus on Something Else
Doing mindless, repetitive work helps to put your focus elsewhere. Break your frustrating task into tiny pieces and work each one with full concentration. Celebrate progress. Frustration gets lost in concentration.
Check Your Perspectives and Expectations
As frustration results from unmet expectations, it’s important to recognize yours and then how you conveyed them, if you did. Your perspective, or how you see the situation, also affects your level of frustration.
Check your perspectives and expectations to see if they were realistic and your involvement and actions. If another person is involved, are they aware of what you expect them to do and let them know the benefit their action will have, while appreciating their efforts. Checking your expectations will go a long way to getting the outcome you desire.
There are dozens of ways to get past frustration; holding onto it will not help. You may need to experiment and find what works for you. Letting go of any frustration will go a long way to keeping you healthy and able to better handle when things don’t go your way in the future.
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