“This traffic is ridiculous! People do not know how to drive!”
“Someone left an empty coffee pot and now I have to brew it? That’s so inconsiderate!”
“Did you see that email? I’m beyond words!”
What frustrated you today? You can probably put together an exhaustive list of things that cause you to experience frustration. Whether it is an interaction with your child, at work, or on the street with a stranger, our initial reaction is often frustration.
What exactly is frustration? Frustration is the feeling of holding back a feeling. Let that sink in for a minute. Frustration is masking something else entirely.
When we use the word “frustrated”, we are talking about being in a situation where we feel we cannot control what we are experiencing. Much like a child’s temper tantrum when they cannot get what they want, we are hard-wired to have this sort of “frustrated” reaction when things don’t go our way, and even more so when it is part of a daily pattern. It’s almost as though we pre-plan our frustration, so the immediateness of our reaction of experiencing frustration becomes almost subconscious.
Subconsciously, we imagine the worst-case scenario and mentally prepare ourselves for it. We make a leap of what might happen without considering that outcome might not happen. Or if the outcome happens, we have already set a pattern in our mind of how we will react to it. It’s a matter of comfort and repetition, even though it has a negative result.
Is there a way out of this pattern? Can we rewire our brain to manage these daily frustrations and become less reactive? First, stop and consider why you are frustrated. If you hit some terrible traffic, you may feel frustrated because the last time this happened, you were late for work and felt embarrassed. You may worry that people will think you aren’t working hard enough to be on time.
Tips for dealing with frustration:
Take a mental step back, pause, and reflect on why you are frustrated.
Imagine what you look like when you act out your frustration and the impact this has on those around you.
Consider that everyone experiences challenges every day, and your frustration is not unique.
Use the situation as an opportunity to work through a challenge that provides you some control over the outcome. What steps can you take to work towards fixing the problem?
Work backwards to trace your reaction to the root of the problem. Are you tired? Stressed at work? Taking out your anger about a different situation onto another one?
Ride the wave. Let it go. Do some deep breathing exercises and allow yourself to feel frustrated until the feeling passes. And it will.
Check in with PUSH511 to help you with goal setting and managing all these little stressors. There’s no cost and all the benefits of getting the support and guidance you need.