A Psychologist’s 5 Best Tips for Dealing With Frustration

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Most of us know, things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes, even when something is carefully thought out, it doesn’t pan out the way we expected. And that can lead us to feel frustrated, fed up or even angry. It happens to the best of us – even the most patient and strongest minded people.

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Of course, some frustration in everyday life is completely normal, and we bounce back fairly quickly. It’s when we experience frustration often, or we get stuck in patterns where everything seems to tick us off, that there may be things that need to be addressed. The good news is, there are helpful techniques that can help you get a hold of these feelings and feel more balanced and better able to cope with snags that come your way.

Here are five suggestions for dealing with frustration in your life.

1. Take a time out

When you’re handling a frustrating task, continuing with it when you start feeling aggravated can may only breed more aggravation. Instead of focusing on the fact that something isn’t working and you “can’t make it work,” give yourself a break from the task. Just a few minutes away can be enough to calm and rejuvenate your mind. By moving to a different environment, you’ll be allowing yourself a chance to separate from the negative feelings and let a new perspective flow in. You can more easily shift your thinking and see things in a different light – which may help you find a solution to the problems you’re having.

2. Aim for a positive mindset

If you’re truthful with yourself, you’ll recognize that a frustrating situation isn’t your first and definitely won’t be your last. You’ve likely dealt with worse situations before, and you overcame them. When you start feeling frustrated, remind yourself of times when you triumphed in the midst of difficulties. Doing this will help you realize that every problem has a solution. It will also remind you that bad times don’t last forever. Instead of dwelling on the negativity, you’ll find the motivation to start looking for solutions, rather than taking the easier route of giving up.

3. Get moving

Bottling up frustration is like an emotional time bomb waiting to explode. You may eventually find yourself venting – maybe aggressively – to people around you, which can actually make you feel worse. Instead of keeping negative energy inside, release it through vigorous physical movements. Taking a brisk walk or a run is a good way to get release. Dance around your living room. Do some kickboxing. Get moving and feel-good hormones will kick in to provide some relief.

4. Re-think and change your lifestyle

If you continually get frustrated, it may be an indication of something is wrong on a deeper level in your life. For example, maybe you’re saying yes to every request that’s thrown at you. Consequently, you find yourself jammed up with tasks that need to be handled. This could mean that you have less time to think through tasks and end up applying tactics that don’t work, ending in frustration. Take some time for a good audit of your lifestyle. If you can identify problem areas, work on a plan to turn them aroun.. In this case, you might teach yourself to say no to things you know you won’t be able to manage. Cutting back on commitments will reduce your stress levels.

5. Let distraction help

Stuck in a rut? Can’t stop thinking about something that is frustrating you? Try distracting yourself with other hands-on tasks. Bake a cake. Paint a picture. Crochet or knit a scarf. Meditate. Redecorating or making your home feel cozy can be especially therapeutic. Besides distracting you in a healthy way, these activities involve decision-making and cognitive processes that ultimately allow you to shift your thoughts, regroup and come back to the frustrating task feeling stronger and better able to work through issues.

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