Frustration, if left unaddressed, can evolve to helplessness, annoyance, anger, or rage. You can overcome it if you get to the root of it and self-care.
Feelings of frustration are emotions that most of us feel from time to time. If you have a low tolerance for frustration, there are steps you can take to help you keep your anger in check.
Frustration is an emotion that you may experience as a result of feeling powerless or helpless at the moment. It can also be a precursor to anger.
It’s a common feeling that may occur when something doesn’t turn out as you expected, or is outside of your control, like waiting in a long line at the grocery store when you have somewhere else to be.
When something frustrating like this happens, it can create stress, especially if you have a hard time letting things go.
If you’re unsure what to do when frustrated, there are strategies you can use to help minimize the impact of frustration in your life.
When you’re feeling frustrated you can take a moment to pause and breathe. Focusing on your breath and breathing deeply from your diaphragm can help reduce negative feelings and ease any tension you may have in your body, according to a
Sarah Kaufman, a licensed social worker in New York City suggests trying these breathing exercises:
- 4-7-8 breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- Boxed breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
To help reap the benefits that come from this exercise, practice slow, controlled breathing that comes from your belly and not your chest.
The next time you’re feeling frustrated stop and ask yourself what may be causing you to feel this way.
You can notice your emotions as they arise.
Emotional wheels are very effective at illustrating root emotions and their related emotions. Putting a name to how you feel might help you to decide what productive steps to take to soothe your frustration.
If you know you get frustrated when there’s a long line at the gas station every Friday, you might take a beat to identify why you’re frustrated. If what you’re feeling is impatience, you can take steps to avoid time triggers and go on a less busy day.
If you get frustrated in midday meetings regularly, you might do a body scan and discover you’re hangry. You can take steps to eat something filling beforehand.
Taking the time to get your feelings down is a great way to help make sense of them. But only recap the situation that caused the frustration if it gives you peace of mind, says Kaufman.
“Freewriting can offer an opportunity for deep reflection and allow for emotions to come up that you didn’t know were there.”
Consider spending a few minutes when you’re feeling frustrated to journal your thoughts and feelings, this can help to decrease your mental distress as well as have a positive impact on your well-being, as a
Physical exercise produces feel-good chemicals in your brain called “endorphins,” these chemicals act as a natural painkiller that can help improve your sleep as well as stress, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
You don’t have to engage in a full-body, lengthy workout to reduce frustration, says Kaufman. “Try short, quick movements, like 5–10 minutes of crunches, jumping jacks, or pushups.”
A common sign of frustration or anger is an increase in heart rate, which can increase your body temperature. By cooling down your body, you can lower your heart rate, which can reduce your feeling of frustration, says Kaufman. She and suggests trying:
- splashing cold water on your face
- holding an ice cube in your hand
- going for a walk if it’s cool outside
The signs of frustration can vary from person to person. Common signs of frustration include:
- feeling anxious or on edge
- losing your temper
Remember, feelings of frustration are common. You’re not alone in frustration, but you can consider taking mindful steps.
Frustration is a common emotion that you may feel when things don’t go the way you expected or because of your inability to achieve something.
It’s usually associated with anger or prefaced by feelings of inability.
The key to managing your frustration is to understand your feelings by identifying them and writing them out. You can also change how it impacts your daily life by:
- deep-breathing exercises
- physical activity
- cooling down your body
If you continue to feel overwhelmed and the strategies you’ve tried aren’t enough to help, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. You can visit Psych Central’s Find a Therapist resource to find a therapist right for you.