Frustration is a given in everyday life.
From projects, deadlines, and colleague interactions at work to the never-ending to-do list, responsibilities, and family issues at home. Not to mention, that big goal you have for this year.
There are some things that can become so ingrained in the way we experience daily life that we start to believe they’re a natural part of it, cursed to deal with frustration, anger, and discontent until the end of our days.
However, the mind has an interesting way of skewing our vision and making us think that things are not only worse than they really are, but the only truth that exists.
Challenge and struggle may be a part of daily life, but you can dictate how you react to those challenges. You don’t have to live every day frustrated.
Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.
– Dale Carnegie
Here are three simple tips for dealing with frustration in everyday life.
1. Presence is the most important practice
Noticing the frustration arise in your mind might sound stupid, “I’m clearly already aware that I’m frustrated…,” but I’m talking about more than just noticing the frustration when it arises.
To be present for the frustration is to be aware of what’s going on within you as the frustration arises and after it takes hold. How does your body feel, what thoughts are whirling around in your mind, and how do you tend to behave? What clues can you discern about why and how the frustration built up in the first place?
This has several benefits, most notably, that with time you’ll begin to be able to notice the frustration long before you typically would have noticed it. This allows you to take control of the situation before the emotion takes hold using a breathing practice or something similar.
2. Use little confidence builders to take back control
Sometimes, frustration comes from the feeling that we’re powerless to our circumstances. That’s never true, but that’s beside the point: we feel like it is.
When everything around you feels like it’s not going right, take a moment to think about what you can control and take action on those things.
Look for a few quick wins, easy tasks that can work as confidence builders that will make you feel in control again.
- A little house cleaning (especially if a messy home stresses you out)
- An errand, trip, email, or phone call you’ve been putting off
- Talking to someone about something that’s been bothering you
- Signing up to something (a course or class to learn a new skill towards your passion project or similar)
One little action can lead to another, building confidence and helping you overcome that creeping frustration over time.
3. Turn your focus to what’s good (use gratitude to shift your perspective)
If powerlessness isn’t what’s getting you, it might be that you’re not making progress towards your goals.
Sometimes, we get too absorbed in where we’re trying to go that we lose sight of what’s right in front of us.
Take a few minutes each day to write down a few things you’re grateful for, or an afternoon to write down a huge list of every single little thing you can think of.
By reflecting on all that you have to be grateful for, you can ground yourself in the treasures of the present. Ironically, putting yourself in a more effective mental state to accomplish your goals while calming the frustration within all at once.