We all experience everyday annoyances – slowpoke drivers, computer addicted teens, or incompetent politicians. What transforms an irksome situation into frustration? It’s our expectations, our “shoulds” that cause aggravation. Drivers should be considerate of other drivers’ needs. Your teenager should learn how to be part of the family. Politicians should be honest.
The underlying emotion behind frustration is ANGER. And that unexpressed anger has a way of coming out in expressions of disgust, impatience, or sarcastic comments. What do our frustrations bring us? High blood pressure. Feelings of separation and disconnection. It’s you vs me, them vs us, right vs wrong. And where is the love? Gone!
Dealing with Frustration in a Better Way
Here are a few simple techniques for dealing with frustration so you can relish differences and embrace what is.
- Express your anger constructively.
Emotions are just pure sensations in our bodies. Emotion = E (energy) + motion. Expressing anger entails releasing pent-up emotional energy in a safe place and in a constructive way. Kick leaves in your yard, stomp through the house when no one is home, push against a doorjamb, or scream into a pillow. If you use words, yell something like, “I feel SO frustrated!” Do it hard, fast and with abandon.
- Accept that you’re not in control.
Accept what is. Remind yourself, over and over, that: “People and things are the way they are, not the way you want them to be.” You can also say, “This is the way it is.” After repeating these sentences for a few minutes, they became a fact, instead of a big deal and you’ll smile.
- Don’t react, but do act.
After accepting the reality, figure out what, if anything, you need to do about the frustrating situation. Perhaps it’s best if you say nothing. Or maybe you need take a stand and initiate a discussion.
- Practice letting go and enjoying what is.
When it’s appropriate, take the path of least resistance. Remind yourself of the larger perspective. It’s probably not a life or death event. Like you, your child, spouse, co-workers, or neighbors believe their way is just as correct.
- Appreciate the benefits and look for the good.
Change Your Low Frustration Tolerance
Rather than believing the world should conform to your view, count your blessings, enjoy the beautiful day, or marvel at what wonderful people you have in your life.
As you defuse frustration, you’ll enjoy more positive thinking and feel more loving and lighthearted. You’ll suspend your unrealistic expectations of others, which will set the stage for better communication and more meaningful conversations and connections.
This is all part of a new improved positive life blueprint. An Attitude Reconstruction. It’s time for your emotional growth to start moving in a new direction.