Frustration - 8 Ways to Deal With It
by Catherine Pratt
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. - Winston Churchill
The emotion you’re feeling is “Frustration”.
With a capital “F”. Maybe even add in some anger because you’ve been working really hard towards your goal or on a project and it just isn’t working. Or you feel like you’re stuck in a dead-end job and can’t find another one. And you may not even really know why. All you know is that you seem to be stuck and no matter how hard you try, you don’t seem to get anywhere. You’re just spinning your wheels in the mud and all you feel is pure frustration. Sound familiar?
This is the point where a lot of people will just say, “I Quit” and give up. Before you do though, here’s 8 ways you can blast through any frustration:
1. Ask Yourself, “What Is Working in This Situation?”
Even if feels like nothing is working, look closely and you will probably find at least something that is going right. So, that’s good. You’ve found something that’s working. Now, how do you improve it? By asking this question, you’ve taken yourself out of the negative mindset of “it’s hopeless” and are back to focusing on the positive.
There's something that’s working and that will give you a clue of what direction to focus on. You may find that even if your previous issues come up you’ll be able to resolve them in the process of concentrating on your improvements.
2. Keep an Accomplishments Log
Write down everything you accomplish in a log. If you do it in a monthly format you will be able to see all that you have accomplished in just one month. You may be surprised by how much you have done. If you realize there’s not much on the list, it may open your eyes to the fact that you may be procrastinating more than working or that you are using too much of your energy going in too many directions and that you need to focus more. Hopefully, you will have lots of items on your list then you can see that even though it may not feel like it, you are moving forwards. The log will also help to highlight where you were the most effective and where you need to work harder.
3. Focus On What You Want to Happen
Go back to the big picture. What is the desired outcome? Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in one problem and trying to solve it that we forget what we were originally trying to accomplish. Try not to ask yourself, “Why did this happen?” Asking questions like that will keep you rooted in the past. It doesn’t offer a solution to the problem. The important thing is knowing the answer to the following two questions:
- What do you want to happen differently this time?”
- What do you need to do in order to get there?
4. Remove the “Noise” and Simplify
When you’re trying to solve a problem, you can get so wrapped up in trying to find a solution that you add unnecessary clutter, noise, and tasks to a project because you thought they “might” be a solution.
Working on this website, I get bombarded by offer after offer of “easy ways to run your website”, “get more traffic”, “make more money” etc. They’re just noise though and usually a waste of my time even reading them. These people are just trying to make money off of me. They have no interest in whether I succeed or not. When people are frustrated by how slow the hard work process is taking, they get tempted by these “here’s what you’ve been missing” and “I’ll make it easy for you” offers. Usually, it ends up that if you do get tempted by the offers you discover 6 months down the road that if you had just stuck with your first plan and just kept working at it, you’d be a lot further ahead by now. Not to mention richer from not having spent money on the Get Rich Quick schemes. Believe in yourself. Simplify and go back to the basics. Determine what is really necessary and remove everything else. Anything that takes your time and effort that isn’t adding value, should be eliminated.
5. Multiple Solutions
You always have options. You just need to brainstorm and figure them out. Tell yourself you need to come up with 8 possible options to what you’re dealing with. Just knowing that you have lots of options will help to make you feel better. You won’t feel like you are trapped in one negative situation. From your list, figure out the best direction and go for it.
6. Take Action
When you get into serious frustration with a problem, you tend not to want to work on it anymore. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, and you’re not getting anywhere. So, anything to avoid having to be in that situation may be far more attractive. Procrastination may start to set in. If you can keep taking steps forwards, you will probably make it past this temporary hump. As Thomas Edison said, “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” and “Surprises and reverses can serve as an incentive for great accomplishment.”
The other thing that can happen is that you start to spend a lot of time worrying. Worrying is a definite waste of energy and does not move you in a forwards direction. Only taking action will. Once you start moving forwards again, you will most likely find that you worried for no reason.
7. Visualize a Positive Outcome to the Situation
A lot of times you can get stuck on focusing on what you don’t want to happen or fearing the absolute worst thing that could happen. The top athletes of the world will imagine themselves competing flawlessly over and over again. There is no room for failure in their minds. This is what you need to focus on as well. See yourself achieving your desired outcome. What will it look like? What will it feel like? What will you say? How will you feel? Take the time to visualize it and really feel it. It will inspire you to keep moving forwards.
8. Stay Positive
Things are usually not as bad as they first appear. Sometimes, things seem much worse simply because we’re tired or mentally drained. Taking a break and remembering to keep your sense of humour can also help. This time of frustration will pass. A positive mind is far more open to solutions and answers than a negative one that thinks it’s just “hopeless” and thinks “what’s the use?” A closed mind will not be able to see the possible solutions when they do come along. Stay positive.
As with any problem, the solution is to figure out what your options are, decide on a plan, focus, and then take action. By using the above 8 steps, you should find that you’re running into fewer problems and feeling less frustration. Instead, you may find that you’re running into opportunities and you know exactly how to take advantage of them.
How Frustrations Can Be Valuable Tools
The Game of Opposites - How to Instantly Deal With Frustrations
Work Frustrations - 5 Tips to Change a Negative Work Environment
How to Stay Positive When It Feels Like Your Life is Falling Apart
How to Handle 'What If...' Worrying
For a lot more ideas on how to deal with frustration, be sure to download a FREE copy of my book, "The Power of Frustration"
Back to top of page
Back to "Confident Thinking"