Have you ever found yourself with your head in your hands, wishing you had an antidote for frustration?
Frustration can be healthy if it motivates you to evaluate your situation and gain awareness. Unhealthy frustration either becomes turned inwards as an assault on the Self, or outwards when it gets vented on others. It may pass in the short term, but what happens when frustration hangs around and becomes more of a state than a passing stage?
The most common reason people experience frustration is because there is a gap between their expectations and their current reality.
In business, frustration takes root when your results don’t match the amount of effort and energy you have invested. Hanging out in a state of perpetual frustration is misery-making and repels success. If you’re caught in a spiral of frustration, here are four antidotes you can use before it becomes toxic.
Antidote #1: Evaluate the people, ideas and things that surround you, especially the ideas.
Are you being pulled forward by your environment, or held back? Ask yourself these difficult, but especially important questions: “Am I the one with the mindset that is holding my dream at a distance?” and “What stories am I telling myself about my lack of results?” If you’re stuck in your story, you’re going to need to get un-stuck as quickly as possible.
Antidote #2. Accept occasional frustration as part of the process and adopt a more playful attitude.
The learning curve can be steep when you are playing big. Because you’re constantly out there stretching yourself, there are bound to be times when your level of skill pales in comparison to your ideal vision. Instead of taking your perceived shortcomings personally, get out there and engage in some playful practice.
Antidote #3. Teach yourself – or get help – to become more resilient
When you’re experiencing prolonged frustration, the last thing anyone should do is withdraw from others. Too often people isolate themselves when prolonged frustration leads to feelings of unworthiness. It’s a slippery slope when negative feelings lead to negative results and increasingly more negative thoughts and emotions. Lurking at the bottom of the slope are feelings of unworthiness, anxiety, depression and paralysis caused by fear. The more resilient you become, the sooner you can bounce back from life’s challenges.
In Brene Brown’ s The Gifts of Imperfection, she describes five common factors of of resilient people:
◆ They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills
◆ They are more likely to seek help.
◆ They hold the belief that they can do something that will help manage their feelings and cope.
◆ They have social support available to them.
◆ They are connected with others.
If you want to become more resilient, develop or believe in your problem-solving skills, seek help, believe you can manage your feelings and connect with other people.
Underlying these common factors of resilient people is a special super-power. Its something we consider a feeling, but is actually a way of thinking …HOPE
Antidote #4: The Secret Sauce – Learn to Cultivate HOPE
If you experience either hope or hopelessness as a feeling beyond your control, it’s time to reconsider. Brown found in her research that hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking that can be cultivated in a 3-step process.
1. Set realistic goals
2. Figure out how to achieve those goals, staying open to alternative routes.
3. Believe in yourself.
Many people get stuck in step 2, trying to figuring out the how. Time marches forward, and results are slowed, which leads to more frustration. What if you didn’t worry about the how, trusted yourself and chose to go about the business of reaching out and being resourceful instead of staying stuck?
Taking a lone wolf approach and trying to figure it all out on your own only prolongs the time it takes to bounce back. It leaves you susceptible to the dark side of prolonged frustration – hopelessness.
I’m no stranger to both healthy and unhealthy frustration. Over time, I’ve learned to use it as a tool to guide me in business, relationships and how I show up in the world. Like so many things, monitoring your frustration is a continual practice. Don’t be a lone wolf, beating yourself up or attributing your lack of results to others. Any one or all of these antidotes to frustration are available to you to influence a happier outcome in a shorter period of time. Which of these four antidotes for frustration will you choose the next time you are feeling frustrated?