Monday, January 12, 2009

Dealing with Frustration.

Grr! by Martin Kingsley

Many of us experience this feeling over and over. Frustration – that annoying, angry, irritated feeling of being taken advantage of, a feeling of confusion or misunderstanding. A sense of impatience with the pace of progress – yours, someone else’s, or just with life in general.

A lucky few may be graced with patience and fortitude to calmly perceive the situation and respond appropriately. The rest of us though, don’t overcome these negative states quite so easily. Especially when we’re having one of those dreaded “bad days,” where one thing after another goes wrong.

Frustration can come without warning. We may be having a happy, productive, positive day, when suddenly the computer stops working, traffic slows to a crawl and the grocery bill just went up another ten dollars. Our peaceful mood evaporates as we are faced with things we can’t change. Things that get in our way, and cause havoc and chaos in our otherwise orderly life.

So what can we do? How do we reign in those feeling of exasperation as the hassles of life continue to build? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Techniques to fight frustration:

1. Take a deep breath. This old standby does work. If you can take 5-10 deep breaths, and physically relax tense muscles, you will regain control of your body and mind, before you say or do something you’ll regret. Closing your eyes helps, but it’s even better if you can combine it with a safe, quiet place like your bedroom or the bathroom at work.

2. Walk away and quit. Don’t overlook this miracle cure for frustration. If you feel tension building, walk away from your project or task. For 10 minutes, an hour, a day or a week, simply stop what you’re working on until you begin to regain perspective or feel calmer. When you return you’ll see solutions you’d have missed earlier.

3. Do something else. This is similar to #2, but with added benefit of giving your mind and body something to concentrate on. At work you could make some phone calls or data entry before returning back to the difficult issue. If a family fight, walk into another room to read or watch TV for a while. This technique can be very effective, but is useless if not put into practice.

4. A friendly voice. Sometimes all we need is a friendly ear to let us talk about what’s bothering us. Often while we talk we will figure out a resolution ourselves, or our confidant can suggest a great alternative.

5. Ask for help. This one is so simple, we usually overlook it. Maybe we can ask our spouse to do some more chores tonight, or ask a coworker for advice on a task. We can also ask for help at online chat groups for some good non-biased feedback. The inscrutable is once again coherent.

6. Exaggerate. When I remember to do this, it really does work. In your mind you exaggerate the problem or annoyance you’re having to monstrous proportions. Adding more and more detail until your mind reaches the biggest, baddest situation you can imagine. You spouse is a hateful dictator who rules with an iron fist and works you like a slave night and day while he parties with glamorous big-busted beauties, spending cash like Bill Gates on an acid trip. Feel the snickers and giggles forming? Works like a charm!

7. Scream it out. For those days or weeks when the stress is building – bills are due, the car needs work, paperwork is piling up and the dog just threw up on the carpet; let it out. Sometimes a good healthy bout of pillow pounding, feet stomping, non-stop cursing fest is exactly what you need to release the tension. Better to take it out on the furniture than some unsuspecting convenience store clerk.

8. Slow down. One of the least obvious solutions when we are feeling aggravated and upset is to slow down. A deliberate, unhurried pace helps us to focus on one task at a time. By using the steps above; walk away, deep breath, do something else, we can calm ourselves and bring a more positive frame of mind. Anger and haste lead to errors and mistakes that we can easily avoid if we slow ourselves down.

Also see:

Game of Opposites – frustration technique.

Stress Relief at

1 comment:

tanya said...

Just don't take it out at all - learn to get passed it but don't let it build up inside you. You need to realize that getting worked up over something is not going to get you any good results. Sleep it off, wake up refreshed and relaxed and start don't forget about your frustrations but find a calmer way to deal with them, try this out, i use it when i want to get away for a bit or if i want to sleep without thinking about my problem the whole night -