Wednesday, October 3, 2012


One thing I think we all constantly struggle with is letting the thoughts and opinions of other people frustrate us. Do you ever have times when it feels as if everyone around you is pointing out all the negatives about the work you do? Do you ever have people who say they want to help you get better but never seem to listen to the reasons why things are the way they are? How do you handle the constant bombardment of negativity? The easiest way to tell if you let other people bother you is to see how often you become frustrated with them.

There will be times when you have a valid reason to be frustrated, but even then, it really isn't worth it. Why become frustrated with someone else when there really isn't anything you can do to change them? There will be times when someone else just doesn't understand, no matter how much they think they do. There will be times when other people just do things differently than we would. There will be times when our best isn't good enough for someone else. There will be times when things just don't work. Becoming frustrated in these cases does no good.

There will be other times when you don't have a valid reason to be frustrated, but become frustrated anyway. There will be times when you let everything else in your life build up and you become frustrated with someone close to you over something stupid. There will be times when you make a mistake that is easily fixed (or even one that isn't easily fixed). There will be times when someone you love makes a simple mistake. There will be lots of times when we want to get frustrated over things that don't really matter, mainly because of other things going on in life. These are times when we really want to eliminate the frustration.

One major problem with frustration is is continues to build. You get frustrated at work because of a variety of things and then traffic sucks and you become more frustrated. When you get home, the stupidest, little thing sets off the frustration again. Maybe it's the way the dishes are in the sink or you left the coffee pot on or you forgot something at work or any number of little things that shouldn't matter. It all starts with becoming frustrated the first time, probably when you feel you have a valid reason to be frustrated and this frustration continue to build to the point where you are getting frustrated over everything.

How do you stop this? How do you develop a way to keep this frustration from getting to you? I'm not an expert as I get frustrated more than I would like, but I do know some things you can try:
  • Practice breathing: When you feel like become frustrated, focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in, hold it, then slowly exhale. Count the breaths you take and focus on nothing but your breathing. This is usually really helpful when you get to the point where you want to explode in frustration. 
  • Exercise: Try to get your blood pumping each and every day. Even if it is for just a short period of time, strenuous activity will help to clear your head and put you in a better frame of mind. You can do simple things (jumping jacks, push ups, squats, jumping rope) or more complex things (weights, jogging, yoga, classes). Not only will you burn the energy feeding you frustrations, but the more you work out, the better you will feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the less frustrated you will get. 
  • Meditation: This is a difficult one for many people because they picture a monk sitting perfectly still in lotus position for hours on end and think there is no way they can do it. Meditation doesn't have to be that involved. You can meditate by sitting at your desk perfectly still for five minutes. You can focus on your breathing or on a mantra or on anything that helps you clear your mind. You don't have to be classically trained or perfect at anything to meditate. You just have to find what works for you and make the time to do it. 
  • Journaling: Make time each day to write about how you feel about things. It helps to get the frustrations you have on paper which makes them real and helps to let them exit your body. This can be your way of letting things out instead of holding them in until you explode over the stupid, little things. 
  • Gratitude journaling: This is a lot like journaling, but each day you focus on three things for which you are grateful. You can focus this on things other people did or on things that just happened. You can do this each morning for the previous day or each evening for the day you just had. By focusing on the things for which you are grateful, you can help to forget about the things that frustrate you. As you begin to focus on looking for things to add to this list, you will stop paying as much attention to the things that frustrate you.
  • Forgiveness repetition: This is just something you can do for yourself. Many people will do this as they lay in bed getting ready to sleep. Think about the people or things that frustrated you and forgive them. Practicing forgiveness helps to clear away any lingering frustration and helps to make you feel better about everything happening around you.
  • Do what makes you happy: This is obvious, but one we often don't do. When we become frustrated, we will often go home and just fall on the couch and watch TV or we bitch and moan to someone else about our frustrations or we drink a little too much or we eat too much or we just go to bed frustrated and angry. Instead, make time to do something you love. If you love to write, then make time to write. Same for listening or making music or reading or playing a sport or shooting pool or doing anything that makes you feel good. We spend so much of our time doing things we may not really want to do and we forget to make time to do the things we love.
These are just some of the things you can do to help alleviate the frustration. The more you do them, the less and less you will automatically get frustrated (hopefully). Some of these may not work for you...the key is to keep trying until you find what does work. Let your loved ones know what you are doing and what you need from them. You don't want your frustration to boil over on to them.

Frustration sucks, but it is something we will all feel from time to time, no matter what we do. Some of us become frustrated at the drop of a hat or have certain people in our lives who are just really good at frustrating us. Some of us will work jobs that are so frustrating that we start to dread them before we even get there. Some of us will get frustrated over things that don't bother anyone else, but we will all have to deal with frustration. How we deal with it will have a lot to do with the overall happiness we feel in life. The easier we frustrate and the more it happens, the less time we have to enjoy the things we love. Personally, I would rather spend my time doing things I love with people I love than feeling frustrated about anything. 

What do you do to help alleviate your frustration?