Your emotions are all over the place? You are struggling more than you usually do and are dealing with feelings of disappointment or frustration? Then let me tell you something: You are not alone! Especially at the moment in this unique self-quarantine time, where we all have so little impact on what´s going on, you might feel like you are missing out on something you were looking forward to. And it is totally understandable that you are sad, disappointed or even frustrated.
I can tell you I am. There have been so many things happening that really let me struggle, but the most important thing is to not give these feelings control over your behaviour. The easiest way is often to start an addictive behaviour such as over-consuming which could be binge-watching, shopping or eating a ton of unhealthy food. But even if you think it might be a good escape, it doesn’t really help you to feel better or to cope better with the situation.
You can´t avoid feeling disappointed or getting frustrated completely, but you can change the way how you react to it. You are the one who chooses how much power you give those feelings. So today I’d like to share some of my mechanisms, which help me to deal better with disappointment and frustration.
Realise Your Feeling
First of all, it is important to realise that you are feeling the way you are and that something changed your good mood into a bad one. Ask yourself which actions or behaviour of the people around you started your frustration. If you managed to figure out the frustration starter, you can work on how you feel about it.
Change of Perspective
Now that you know what triggered your frustration, it is helpful to look at your situation from an outside angle. Try to see the situation from a different perspective and understand the other’s point. Look back at your own behaviour and analyse if you might have provoked the situation yourself or if you looked at things too critically. Did the other one really treat your wrong/unfair/unrespectful or did you just feel like it even though there was no real reason for it?
Often when we communicate our feelings with the other one we figure out that there was actually a misunderstanding. Or the actions of someone might have been thoughtless and hurt you, but his/her intentions were good ones. You don’t always have to find a solution, sometimes it already helps a lot to hear from the other one that they understand your frustration.
Accept Your Feelings
Instead of getting angry about your own frustration, better accept your feelings of frustration. It is okay to feel the way you are feeling right now. Ask yourself what you can do to make the situation better for you. Do you want some time alone? Need an apology or a hug? Or maybe most importantly forgive yourself that your body and mind feel frustrated. Accept your feelings without blaming them and often the frustration lights up a bit already.
Acknowledge Your Losses
Especially at the moment, we are dealing with multiple losses, so it’s no wonder that our feelings are more tempered. Some lose major things like their jobs or even loved ones; others might lose things that look smaller in comparison like not being able to go to their prom or missing out on something they´ve been looking toward for a long time. Of course, losing a family member or friend is way worse than just not being able to celebrate the end of your school career at a prom dance. But in my opinion, it is important to acknowledge and accept all kinds of losses big or small that people had.
Sure it is important to put your frustration in perspective to what other people might be going through, but don’t just cut your own feelings off. Otherwise, your grief will grow. It is okay to be sad that you are missing out on the big family reunion or whatever other thing it is that you´ve been looking forward to. Allow yourself to be disappointed about it. Accept your feelings for a moment and then let them go, close this chapter and move on. But if you swallow your disappointment or frustration it will come back up in another moment and I´m sure we all don’t want to let out our frustration on a loved one for no reason. Better deal with your feelings instead of letting them out on the people that are important to you.
Focus On What You Can Control Instead of What You Can Not Control
Taking the current situation as an example: Unless you are a politician no one of us can decide when this home quarantine status will stop and when we will all feel safe again. So if you don´t want to grow your frustration better focus on the things that you can control, instead of the ones that are out of your reach. And there is always something that you can decide for yourself. Even if it is not the environment that surrounds you right now, you can still choose your own behaviour and your attitude on how you react to things. You have power over how you spend your time and which thoughts you empower.
Give yourself relaxing breaks and plan them ahead. Find something that relaxes you and make sure that the next time you get frustrated you can focus on this relaxing habit. I, for example, love reading and a hot bath, so when I get frustrated or overwhelmed by my environment I either try to do one little relaxing habit right away or if it´s not possible because of the timing I tell myself that I can take this bath tonight. That way there is something nice I´m looking forward to and it takes some of my stress or frustration away. You could try to put a happy song on and dance for a few hours. You could try meditation, yoga or painting – basically whatever makes you feel better and lets go of the stress of your day.
Let It All Out
If your frustration isn´t going away and calming yourself doesn’t work then choose something where you can let it all out. Obviously not on the people around you! What I mean is power yourself out in a sport. If you live in nature go for a walk and find a spot where you are alone and can let out a scream. Find something that fits your lifestyle so that you have a prepared exit habit for the next time that you get frustrated and you will deal with it way better.
Plan Your Happiness
Include more moments of happiness in your daily journey by planning them in advance. Make sure that way you always have something you are looking forward to. In intense moments where frustration might come up, it will help you to concentrate on this great thing that you will do later. But please just binge-watching does not count, if you really want it to work your moments of happiness should be different every day and things that you truly enjoy. Write a list of which things give you a great feeling and sometimes it might be even something little that you are looking forward to like sleeping on freshly washed bedsheets or starting a new book by your favourite author. You know yourself best so I´m sure you already have a couple of things in mind. The good thing about having this list prepared is that when you are not feeling great, you can just look at it and start some of the happy habits, instead of getting even more frustrated, because you don’t know what you feel like doing
This tip might surprise you but there are studies that prove, that you are better at balancing your feelings when you are used to challenging yourself. So plan some challenging things for yourself. This could be small things like taking a quiz, going alone somewhere like a restaurant or even solo travel. You could do a workout challenge or eat food you would normally not give a try. These easy tricks help your brain get more open-minded and see that other methods or the opinions of other people are not always bad. It will help you to realise how many different ways of doing something exist and in that way how many perspectives. It will also push your self-esteem, which helps you to not get frustrated about some things so easily.
Sense And Purpose
Check if the moments that bring you frustration actually need to be faced. Maybe some of them could be done by someone else. For example, you could give away an unpopular task like your tax declaration and use that new time for more moments of happiness. If you compare how little it actually costs to how much happiness it got you it might be worth it. Or if you need some spare time without your kids, find someone who can take care of them for an hour or two.
If you are more advanced then look for a purpose in your own life. What are your goals? How could you help others more and make the world a better place? It will make your life feel more meaningful if you see that you are bringing a positive effect on other people’s life. Even in these virus times, you can ALWAYS find someone who needs help. You could go shopping for your elderly neighbours, look after the kids of a mom that still has to work and doesn’t have any help. Or you can offer things online to others. If you act kind and empathetic, you will feel more loved and happier with yourself. And the happier you are with yourself and your life and the more balanced your feelings are, the better you will handle disappointing situations.
Prioritise Your Own Mental Health
Last but not least only look to others for encouragement, not for judgement. If you realise that your self-judgement is on a high level because of some social media accounts then you better unfollow them or at least limit your consuming time. Be careful with what you let impact you and concentrate on people that lift you up. Find a person that motivates and inspires you and make sure your mental health is as good as your physical one.
When was the last time your frustration took over your behaviour? Do you often deal with disappointment or frustration? What are your best working habits to feel better in such an overwhelming moment?