What do you do when you get frustrated? Your answer to this simple question can make all the difference in the world.
You know very well that getting frustrated is part of life. It happens pretty frequently. Friends show up late, colleagues don’t meet deadlines, children misbehave, people cancel plans. Your efforts to create something new don’t work out. You have a hard time losing weight. You need to earn more money.
In fact, anything you do has the possibility of resulting in frustration.
And a lot of emotion comes with the frustration.
But, emotion in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, if you’re human, there’s no getting away from it. It’s what we do. We’re emotional creatures. Our wiring ensures that emotion will be our first reaction to events around us.
The real question is, do you respond to frustration with an appropriate emotional response or do you react with more firepower than the situation called for? In other words, are you responding to the situation in front of you or are you reacting, driven by triggers from past experiences?
If you’re like many people, your emotional center still controls you. You have knee-jerk, emotional reactions that are often out of proportion to the event. You may get depressed or angry. You may become moody or aggressive. You might slam doors, raise your voice, or stomp out of the room.
Ultimately, the real problem with letting your emotions fly every time you’re frustrated is that you sabotage your ability to get what you really want from life.
For example, if you’re frustrated by your inability to control the actions of people around you, whether it’s your teenager, your spouse, your neighbor, your boss, or anyone else, and the only tool in your toolkit is to yell and scream, you lose.
Ask yourself: What am I really getting by reacting this way?
Your frustration is not going to change the people you’re dealing with—they won’t be any more cooperative and they won’t start respecting your wishes.
What you may not realize is that when you react disproportionately, it’s not even in your own best interests. You don’t get what you want. You alienate people around you. You end up apologizing to people for your behavior or retreating to silence, sometimes for years.
But all is not lost.
There are several effective strategies for dealing with frustration:
1. Realize that frustration is going to happen.
People won’t do everything you want them to when you want them to and in the way you think it should be done. Things won’t always work out as you want.
2. Have a plan for when frustration does happen otherwise your disproportionate emotions will take over.
That’s right, just breathe. Deeply. Breathing gives you an opportunity to calm your nerves and quiet yourself before giving a response.
4. While you’re deep breathing, remind yourself you don’t have all the information yet.
The emotional center of the brain likes to leap to conclusions without all the facts. It tells you how you feel but it doesn’t tell you if that feeling is warranted.
5. Remember that in your life you want good relationships, normal blood pressure, and not having to apologize because you lost your temper in a situation that wasn’t your fault to begin with.
6. If all else fails and you’re able to remove yourself from the situation, do it.
Tell the other person you have to go to the restroom. Who cares where you go, just go.
You deprive yourself of so many things in life because of your reactions to your frustration. Remind yourself of the most important things you want in life and don’t sabotage your own efforts.