How to Deal With Normal, Everyday Frustrations
We all experience frustration in our lives on an almost daily basis. This is mostly about the little things. There can be frustration with planning a wedding, buying a home, etc. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the little things that shouldn't matter, but, still, make us frustrated to no end. I have my own problems with frustrations that have spanned across my home and work life, so I have had to find ways to channel my frustrations so they do not take control of me.
I wrote this article to provide general ways you can address your day-to-day frustration. It won't give specific ideas like yoga or writing to deal with frustration, as those could only work for specific people. But I want you to be aware of the ways you can cope with your frustration, as well as the pros and cons behind each of those ways.
Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.— Bo Bennett
My Frustrating Experience
I want to share an experience where I let my frustration get the better of me. I was working as a supervisor and had only been in the position for about a year. I had a lot of work and was trying to get through it, but, other line work kept coming in. Since we didn't have enough staff, I had to help with the line work if it got too busy.
As I saw the line work piling up, I became frustrated, to the point I slammed my hand down on my desk in frustration. At that moment, the head of our unit walked by, stopped, and asked how I was doing. I had to quickly say I was okay and suppress the frustration. She knew I was frustrated, but I bottled it up as to avoid looking any worse. The situation stuck with me because I learned I needed to handle my frustration better.
Suppressing your frustration is basically keeping it inside of you and not expressing it at all. If you pull it off, you won't express that frustration to others and they won't even know you are upset about something.
How to do it:
- Don't tell anyone. If you are frustrated, then don't tell anyone about your frustration. State everything is just fine.
- Control your face and body. Keep your face in a neutral position. Be aware of how you carry your body as well. Your mannerisms can give a lot away.
- Stay away from others. If possible, stay away from other people, as that lessens the chance of you expressing your frustration.
- Allows you to handle it internally. You can process the frustration yourself without getting others involved, giving you the time you need to handle it.
- Less drama. As long as you don't express it, there won't be any drama caused by it with yourself or with others.
- Can show people you don't let anything get to you. This can make you seem stronger in the eyes of others, which could put you in a positive light.
- Bottles it up. And just like a corked bottle, it's bound to explode with dire consequences.
- Could be ignoring the cause. If you just ignore what caused the frustration, then you aren't really dealing with the issue that caused the initial frustration.
- Difficult to control facial expressions. Unless you're a poker player, it can be hard to control your facial expressions. You may show frustrations even if you didn't mean to.
In the end, this is the method I would least recommend. The biggest con is that it just bottles it up and makes the frustration that much more intense in the future. This method can work if you need to keep your cool for whatever situation you are in until you can use one of the other methods.
Confronting your frustration is the direct approach in dealing with it. This could involve expressing your frustration or trying the solve the issue that caused the initial frustration almost immediately.
How to do it:
- Deal with it right away. Don't wait. If something frustrated you, then figure out how to deal with the problem right then and there before you dwell on it any further.
- Tell people you are frustrated. If someone frustrated you or they want to know what's going on with you, then straight out say it.
- Don't worry about what others think. They may not like that you are outwardly showing you are frustrated, but at least you aren't keeping it in.
- Deals with the issue right away. This can offer the quickest solution in handling the frustration.
- You'll forget about it sooner. With the frustration dealt with, you will quickly move past it.
- Lets people know what frustrates you. This ensure they never do it again, if they were the cause of the frustration.
- People will be upset with you. If you indicate someone frustrated you and they take it the wrong way, then it could damage future relationships.
- Could make you seem angry all of the time. No one wants to be around someone who is angry. They aren't fun to be around.
- Could remove any filter you have. Rather that picking and choosing your battles, you may just lose any filter you have and express everything.
While confronting can be good in some situations, you need to pick those situations carefully. This isn't the ultimate solution to dealing with those everyday frustrations, so be careful when using this tactic.
Walking away from your frustration is in the middle of suppressing and confronting it, because you choose how and when to deal with the frustration.
How to do it:
- Literally walk away. Walking away from your current surroundings can help you overcome the feelings of frustration until you are ready to deal with it.
- Calm down for a few moments. Now that you have walked away, let yourself calm down and avoid thinking about what was frustrating you.
- Go back and address the situation. Now that you are in a calm frame of mind, deal with whatever frustrated you.
- Strikes a good balance. You aren't letting your frustration control you and you aren't ignoring it. You are dealing with it on your terms when you are the most calm.
- Potential for the best decisions. Once clear headed, you are more likely to make a clear decision on how to handle the issue and other other situations surrounding it.
- Reduces your stress. With this balance, your stress levels will be manageable. You aren't keeping it in which could build your stress and you aren't using your stress to express your frustrations fully.
- Potential to have the wrong reaction. If you take too much time to calm down, then you may not address the issue properly. Or if you don't take long enough, you could handle it wrong because you aren't thinking clearly.
- You can't always walk away. If you are driving a car and have a fit of road rage, then you can't just walk out of your car. So while this is a good solution, it's not always practical.
- You may walk away and never go back. Walking away permanently is tempting because you won't have to confront the issue. People don't like to confront. So you may find yourself staying away because you can.
This is my preferred method to handle frustration. Times I walk away for an hour, or, for a few minutes. It's a good middle-ground to the first two methods that I personally recommend.
This isn't the same as confronting the issue. This is more like expressing yourself in a constructive way to deal with the frustration.
How to do it:
- Find a way to express yourself. This could be finding a friend to talk to, chatting with someone online, or making a post on Twitter.
- Express yourself moderately. Keep your tone and demeanor as neutral as possible. Don't rant, don't rave. State why you are frustrated.
- Ask for advice. Having a neutral party listen to why you are frustrated can be good so you can receive feedback on how to resolve the issue, especially if you had not considered it yourself.
- Allows for feedback. Receiving feedback on a situation, especially a bad one, can be a great way to resolve the issue and recover from it.
- Makes you feel heard. Expressing yourself to someone (or to the world via social media) can make you feel heard, knowing someone is listening.
- Can continue to follow-up. Even if it's been hours or days since the initial problem, you can follow-up to discuss the issue further if you need to.
- Involves others in your drama. This solution can involve another person or many other people, allowing them to see the things that bother you.
- May not find a solution. You may confide in a friend, but in the end they may not have a possible solution for you. That could be fine, as you may be content in just expressing yourself.
- People may be tired of it. If you go to them or vent about everything that bothers you, they may find that annoying and may not want to hear it anymore.
I like this solution because if you have someone to talk to, you can banter about the frustration and how to address it. I don't do it often because I don't want people getting in my business.
Mantra to Live By
There is a mantra I try to live by when dealing with any frustration in my life - "Will this matter a year from now?"
When approaching those small things that frustrate you, that is a great question to ask yourself. More than likely, they won't matter a year from now and that's how you need to approach frustrations as they come up.
If you have other thoughts on how to tackle those daily frustrations, please leave them in the comments below. I'd love to hear them!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 David Livermore