Frustration is probably the most soul destroying of all our emotions. It can be an extremely damaging feeling because you can end up doing or saying something you totally regret. The following article and advice is probably one of the most informative I have read. If you want to learn how to cope with frustration then this article is for you.
Frustration is a disappointed feeling, often including expressions of anger in an unhelpful or self-defeating manner. Frustration is about expecting the world and its inhabitants to be, act or react as you wish. In reality, things are as they are; so no amount of ranting and steaming is going to change that. What you need to change is your perspective, or angle, on events. If you suffer from long-term frustration, apathy, or are in a frustrating relationship or friendship, address the underlying problems and learn coping techniques that set you on the path toward healthy emotions.
Handling Frustrating Events
- Learn what your triggers are. Do you get frustrated when you are forced to wait and do nothing? Do you feel angrier after a direct argument, or passive-aggressive behavior? When you recognize the type of situation that bothers you, or even more specific triggers such as traffic or certain people, you can try to escape those situations before they occur Even if you cannot avoid it, you may be more prepared to try the following coping mechanisms.
- View frustration as “delayed success” rather than “failure”. How you view and approach your situation will change your reaction and emotions. If you see your situation as a setback that you will get over, you are likely to be able to feel frustration but know you can overcome it. If you label it as a failure, you may view it as something that is permanent and be likely to grieve and worry, rather than be proactive.
- There are events that are temporary failures. However, more often than not, it really is something that can be overcome or fixed by doing something new, or by persistence by getting a restart, etc.
- For example: A teenage girl has been dumped by her first real boyfriend, without a really good reason.
- The “Failure” View: He dumped me! What’s wrong with me that he doesn’t want to be with me anymore? I don’t know if I can ever love again!
- The “Delayed Success” View: Well, I’ll have to kiss a lot of toads before meeting my prince/princess. And, I suppose this won’t be the last break-up either. I know I’m hurt now, but I’ll get over it. (Very few people meet the love of their life in the first person they date.)
- Adjust your expectations of others. Typically, frustration happens when people fail to meet an expectation that one has of another person. Sometimes the expectation is reasonable, but often it is not. The reality is that human beings are often inconsistent, and will not always be his or her “best self”. The best way to handle the fact that humans are imperfect beings is to keep expectations reasonable/possible. Forgive others and yourself for imperfections. Remember that you, too, are not always perfect, consistent, and can make mistakes.
- Learning about human psychology can go a long way to understanding why people do what they do. Learning how behavior, thought processes, and the like go right and wrong, can go a long way to gaining a more balanced view of human nature.
- Important people in your life can consistently fail in his or her “role”. For instance, a friend who is always late for everything. She is otherwise a great friend. Having the expectation that she may always be that way may be healthier than breaking a friendship over this matter. You may have to avoid putting her in situations where promptness is an issue, for instance.
- Manage expectations of your world. If you hold expectations that things will go easily, that nothing can or will go wrong, and you will achieve everything effortlessly — you will likely be frustrated and disappointed. The important things in life–work, school, relationships, mastering a skill–rarely, if ever, are quick or easy. And, if they start out easily, rarely do they remain so. Some things to keep in mind:
- Life is not like video games. Video games are designed to be just challenging enough to be interesting, but not so frustrating that you are likely to quit. The real world, of course, does not arrange itself in such a convenient way. Develop your skills, trades, crafts, sports, public speaking, singing, martial arts, but expect to take years of dedicated practice. The world does not lay before you in marvelous scripted beauty, just waiting for you to start.
- TV and movies often teach terrible social lessons. For instance, action movies often teach people that if a man rescues the woman, she will inevitably fall in love with him. But in reality, just because you do something nice for a girl does not mean she will become your girlfriend.
- Experts make their skills look so easy. A person who has mastered a skill often makes it look like it took no effort to perform. For example, a teenager learning to drive often is surprised at how much skill and experience it takes a person to safely handle the streets. Although the teenager has spent thousands of hours watching people drive over the years, it takes more than just observation to be safe behind the wheel. And even after getting a driver’s license, mastering skills such as driving in snow, parallel parking, or driving with a trailer takes even more practice.
- Check that your reaction is proportional to the situation. It may be natural to want to swear, insult, and scream–but that may make the situation worse. Not only may you be over-reacting and prepping yourself for a disaster rather than a setback, but the bystanders might be looking at you like you are unhinged. Ask yourself these questions to help you slow down and consider your reaction:
- Is what I want to do appropriate?
- Will acting in such a way achieve anything positive for me?
- Will what happened now matter in a day? A week? A month? A year?
- Are things really as I perceive them? Is it possible I am jumping to conclusions? Do I need to ask questions about what is going on?
- Can I properly express my concern, to get my needs fulfilled?
- Will positive, polite words make someone more likely to help me?
- If I accept the other person’s preference or need, can we cooperate with each other to fulfill mine as well?
- Stop seeing yourself as the victim “Playing the Martyr” means that you have a situation happen to you, and you do little or nothing to help yourself. It also goes hand-in-hand with searching for a reward for acting in such a way, such as attention. Perceiving yourself as a victim, or expecting a reward for your suffering, can prevent you from responding reasonably and appreciating what the world has to offer. If this describes you, or if you feel worthless and sorry for yourself, begin to change your perspective and behavior.
Coping with Long-Term Frustration
- Engage in soothing, mindful activities. If you are dealing with frustrating situations that will not quickly go away, be sure to find activities that counter-act the negativity. What this is will be different for each person, but it should be something that is soothing, makes your feel good about yourself, and leaves you feeling positive. Choose an activity that makes you (1) feel achievement such as studying or housecleaning — or (2) relax by playing a sport, game, or do a hobby can be effective, as long as the activity is not the source of your frustration.
- Fight Procrastination. Frustration can cause apathy, or severe lack of motivation. This can result in spending hours on activities that are neither productive nor enjoyable, or failing to meet goals due to procrastination. If this description fits, break the cycle with the following tips, if applicable to your situation:
Read More How to Cope With Frustration
Some of the best advice is to be sure in your own mind what is causing your frustration in the first place. If you are struggling to recognize the root cause then seek help from trusted friends or even a counselor. Don’t suffer through this alone, you really can help yourself feel a whole lot better by following the advice above. Try to avoid alcohol or drugs as this will hinder your recovery and make it less likely that you will learn how to cope with frustration.