Overcoming Frustration

I think many of you would agree that frustration is one of those emotions that seem to override everything else. How many times this week have you wanted to pull your hair out, kick, scream, yell, or maybe even hit something (hopefully not someone)? How many have you felt this way today? Every one experiences frustration or stress from time to time. It happens when we don’t get what we want, when things don’t work out the way we expect them to or when others don’t behave the way we want them to.

Even I experience this. Yesterday is a great example. My plans yesterday included getting the boys (teenagers) off to school and sitting down to write for my blog and work on my novel. I was stressed about my novel because I have rewritten this chapter twice. So I was ready to give it another go and make it work. I woke up ready to and pumped to put out some great work. Then, the school called. I was informed that schools were closed due to icy roads. Immediately my plans changed without my wanting them to and my frustration level rose. I felt tired and unmotivated. I still completed a partial morning routine. Then the boys got up. For some reason one of them was out of sorts. I do not know if he was overly tired or stressed but his tension-increased mine. We ended up butting heads for most of the day. By six in the evening, I had given up any hope of redeeming the day. I was more than exhausted. The emotional conflict that resulted from my frustration at failed plans was far too much. It was also unnecessary. I did not realize until later that I had let go of my control. I did not have to give in to the negativity that I felt. I did not have to give in to the upset, angst, and anxiety that I had been swimming in all day! I am at this point not certain about why I did not realize this but it happens when we let that stress, negativity and frustration consume us. Yes, I wanted to pull my hair out, kick and scream. I did none of those things I was not kind. I did not use the THINK method in my frustration I vented, I snapped, and I quarreled…. Like a teenager. I am thirty-seven years old. There was really no need for it and it did not help defuse the situation, nor did it make me feel better. What could I have done differently yesterday to make the day not a complete loss? Well, there are several things.

  1. I could have started over. I needed to clear my space. If I had completed my morning routine, my space would have been clear. An uncluttered workspace, whether it is the desk when I am writing, the counters when I am cooking or the table when I am eating means an uncluttered mind. When we let go of clutter outside the clutter inside diminishes greatly! Therefore, the first step in overcoming frustration is to see if there are environment factors contributing to the feeling of frustration. It is important to our psyche to have a neat and clean environment.
  2. I could have left the situation. Going or a walk or maybe going to the café for some herbal tea or even making tea at home and going into my bedroom would have helped. I was standing in the middle of tension that was literally palpable. I could feel it. I was breathing shallow, quick breaths and I felt like I was consumed by the stress. When we leave a situation, we are not fixing the situation but we are fixing ourselves so that we can see things in a new perspective. Yes, it is winter, and it is cold. Even if a walk were not optimal, moving away from the source of fire would have meant I wasn’t burned. It would have given me a chance to breathe and think more clearly.
  3. I could have reminded myself that things change. Plans change on a daily basis. I could have entered into this with a feeling of acceptance. To do so would have alleviated the frustration before it magnified once the boys were up. Emotions are contagious. What I was feeling most likely escalated the tension with the kids. To accept the change in plans would not have been difficult. Sitting down and writing a new to-do list and creating a new plan for the day would have made things run much more smoothly.

When we accept that things change, we can look at things in a different way. We can see where improvement is beneficial. We can change with the changes. It is all a part of reinventing ourselves on a daily basis. We really can choose if we will have a good day or a bad day. What we think about, we bring forth. When we focus on a thousand ills we will be besot by the troubles of life. If we think of a thousand joys, the troubles of life disappear and we bring forth a garden of flowers and beauty rather than weeds.

Overcome frustration by stopping everything. Take a deep breath. Look around you. What in your environment is causing you stress? Deal with it right away. Clean up. Clear a space for you. Then make a list of what you need to do. Accept that plans change and change with them. Leave the situation and gain a new perspective. Come back and do one thing at a time. If the kids are bickering, take the time to talk to each one of them. Find out what frustrates them. Offer them a way out. Maybe give them a chance to take a walk or go visit a friend. Sometimes even our kids need to leave the situation so they can distress. Finally, rethink. If what you are doing is not working, it is time to do something else. Do you remember the stop sign method? This is a great time to use it! Frustration and stress does not have to consume us. We have the ability to CHOOSE our path! What kind of day will you choose? As for me, I choose to be happy!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. All comments and suggestions are welcome! Do you have any ideas on relieving frustration and stress? Please leave a comment for our readers!

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming Frustration

  1. Well written advice. I shall make an effort to remember the points the next time I am in such a not only stressful, but stress filled situation. To be honest it occurs almost daily in my job. Learning to defuse a potentially ugly situation is a skill I need to practice. Then learning to de-stress, let it all go and remember I cannot fix the situation, but I can remove my self emotionally and regain balance in my self.

    • Thank you for your reply! It is something I also need to practice on a regular basis. I tend to think of it after the fact but I am, like everyone else learning, growing, and moving forward.

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