Dealing With Frustration
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Dealing With Frustration

Dealing with frustration is something that we all have to do from time to time. The difference is the way in which we deal with it. Frustration is defined as ‘the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals.’ Whether these are big goals such as attaining a certain level of financial security, or smaller goals like installing computer software correctly, the frustration we experience at setbacks can be an intense feeling.

When facing frustration, our usual reactions may range from crying, yelling, or smashing things, to clamming up and either overindulging in ‘sedatives’ such as alcohol, shutting down emotionally, or finding ourselves with a migraine.

None of these are very healthy ways of dealing with frustration, but most of us have been known to react in less than helpful ways at times, when our plans and goals are under threat. If we can recognize that the anger and frustration we are feeling are a natural reaction to the curve-balls that life is always throwing our way, we can learn to adopt better methods of dealing with frustration.

It is important to try and find a balanced approach to dealing with life’s obstacles and disappointments. It is not helpful or good for the blood-pressure to explode with rage at the slightest aggravation, but it is equally harmful to bottle up the feelings that are created by setbacks. By acting as if we don’t care, and that we are perfectly fine, when deep down, if we are willing to look at our true feelings, we are not fine, resentment and frustration build up and simmer.

We need to allow ourselves to vent our feelings in a healthy and controlled manner. To express the fact that we are not happy with what is happening, but that we will work on coming to terms with whatever twists and turns our lives are taking. It is necessary to decide that when we have been able to overcome our disappointment, we will look at what we can learn from the situation, and work out a Plan B, or C or D…

Some ways to help in dealing with frustration and expressing the feelings of anger that go with it include ‘getting it all out,’ whether by ranting and raving to a friend, partner, or therapist, pouring it all out into a journal, or using a method of physical venting such as vigorous exercise.

Frustration quotes can also give us some great ideas on dealing with frustration. This humorous one from comedian Phyllis Diller is excellent. “My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual.”

Dale Carnegie said, “Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment.” A reminder that many of our difficulties, even physical tiredness, stem from negative emotions and habits.

This quote from Pope John XXIII encourages us to “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” Great advice for dealing with frustration!

The following frustration quotes urge us to see that frustration can become a rich source of growth.

“I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration was actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” Anthony Robbins

“Frustration is the compost from which the mushrooms of creativity grow.” Tumerica, Poet and Blogger

I especially like that last one. Frustration can indeed make us feel that we are having compost or something equally awful heaped onto our plans and hopes. However, out of this unpleasant experience, something positive can grow and flourish.

In dealing with frustration, accept that it is natural to feel some level of anger when our plans are thwarted. Recognize that you are experiencing frustration, and figure out how to vent your feelings in a healthy manner. Realize that we all experience setbacks, and that these can often provide great opportunities for learning and development.

If all else fails, lock yourself in your room and give into a full-blown, foot-stomping, dummy-spitting, toddler-sized tantrum. Sometimes that really can be the best way of dealing with frustration.

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