Frustration signals can that something isn’t quite right, but prioritizing sleep and mindfulness can help you manage your frustration.

Feeling frustrated or upset is a natural response that occurs when the outcome of a situation turns out differently than expected.

When something frustrating happens, it can create stress. This is where frustration and stress are connected. If you have difficulty letting it go, stress can increase.

Frustration is also associated with anger. Both complex emotions are seen as stemming from other feelings, like disappointment, fear, and stress, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

The APA adds that unchecked feelings of frustration and anger can be unhealthy. And they can be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, especially among women.

According to a 2017 study, taking a moment to focus on your breath and breathe from your diaphragm (deep breathing) can help reduce negative feelings and ease body tension.

To practice deep breathing focus on sending your breath to your stomach, and let it expand like a balloon. Then, exhale to release your breath.

Life is full of frustrations, but that doesn’t mean you need to handle them all. You can choose to reduce or remove certain annoyances and triggers from your environment.

Consider taking time to notice your surroundings and observe how your body reacts to your environment.

You can also turn your attention toward your breathing. If you notice that you have a shallow or rapid breathing pattern it may indicate that your environment isn’t supporting your needs during that time.

If you’re feeling frustrated regularly, consider reflecting on some what may be causing your negative feelings.

Try to find a safe and comfortable space to notice any emotions that arise without judgment. Identifying how you feel can help you know what to do next to reduce stress and cope with future stressors.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) explains that physical exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins (“feel good” chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers).

They also suggest that exercise can improve the ability to sleep, reducing stress.

A large 2018 South Korea study suggests that stress awareness is associated with sleep durations that are 5 hours or less.

According to a 2021 study, higher levels of stress are associated with increased sleep disturbances and daytime dysfuntion, such as lack of energy, in elite olympic athletes.

Frustration can arise from feeling rushed, overwhelmed, and burnt out.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, practicing mindfulness, including focused breathing techniques and meditating, can be used at any time to help you stay present.

Mindfulness can also help reduce feelings of:

Cleaning, organizing, and decluttering can help you feel more positive and in control of your environment. Plus, according to a 2009 study the repetitive activity of cleaning has been said to reduce physical or psychological stressors.

If you’ve ever been “hangry” or hungry-angry, you may know how closely connected your hunger and negative emotions are.

A 2018 study links this to the releasing of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re hungry. Cortisol can also trigger feelings of anger or aggression.

Writing about your feelings is a way of making sense of them. According to research from 2018, online positive affect journaling is effective for:

  • decreasing mental distress
  • increasing well-being
  • enhancing physical functioning

Consider spending five minutes to write out your feelings and thoughts. This could help clear your mind and help you release unhelpful emotions that may lead to frustration and stress.

Taking a nap could help you increase tolerance against frustration and help you avoid impulsive behaviors

A 2015 study indicates that midday napping can be a beneficial intervention for people that are required to stay awake for long periods of time.

The study further suggests that naps can reduce impulsive decision making and enhance the ability to perservere through difficult and frustrating tasks.

Frustration is less of something to be avoided and more of an emotion to be felt and dealt with. Taking good care of yourself, including:

  • getting adequate sleep
  • exercising
  • eating at regular intervals
  • journaling
  • tidying up

You can change your relationship to frustration and how it impacts your life. But bear in mind dealing with frustration isn’t a one-time activity—and that’s a good thing.

This means you have endless opportunities to practice handling stressful situations, but you also have time to work on coping techniques, so things are less intense overall.

If these tools aren’t enough to help, you may consider seeking additional support by reaching out for help from friends and family or talking with a mental health professional.

If you’d like to talk with a therapist, either locally or online, you can visit Psych Central’s Find a Therapist resource.