How to Stop Being Frustrated

Frustration © Erik Back 2012

Frustration © Erik Back 2012

Well, actually you don’t stop being frustrated, because the frustrations are part of life and you need them to get success. I have done a bit of research in the concept of frustration and that made me understand the essence and how to deal with frustration. I will attempt to explain what I believe frustration is and how you can get in control of your frustrations.

Understand frustration

Get in control of your frustrations

Learn to deal with your frustrations

Turn frustration into positive growth

While researching and writing a working paper I saw an important connection to some of my early work on this blog. I saw how I can manage my frustrations by working on my habits and basic needs.

Frustration is good

First of all I want to make clear that frustration is a good thing. We need frustrations to grow. We don’t develop if we don’t have frustrations. But for some people, myself included, frustrations are more frequent and they tend to do more harm than good. Sometimes I overreact dramatise.

It can be awfully distressing for people around me when I let my frustrations get out of control. The reason that my frustrations seem to do more harm than good is that I don’t know how to deal with them.

The feeling of frustration comes from not being able to satisfy a need or desire.

Seven common emotions that give frustration

  1. Boredom (the need for mental stimulation)
  2. Anger (a feeling that something is unjust)
  3. Fear (you feel threatend by something)
  4. Sadness (you are not happy with the way things are)
  5. Loneliness (the need to be with others)
  6. Stress (you need some time to relax)
  7. Feelings of inadequacy (you don’t feel confident in your abilities)
Habits based on Maslow and Frankl

Hierarchy of Habits © Erik Back 2011

Out of these seven emotions I have identified three that I know I handle the wrong way: stress, anger and fear. While thinking about this and asking myself what to do about it, I came to think about a model I made on this blog. I called it the hierarchy of habits.

It is based on Maslows hierarchy of needs. If I plot in the emotions and needs that are connected to frustration I get this:

Boredom has to do with the need for self-actualisation.

Feelings of inadequacy have to do with the need for esteem.

Sadness and loneliness have to do with the need for love and belonging.

Anger, stress and fear have to do with the need for safety.

The purpose of the hierarchy of habits is to show what is important to build a good foundation for your life. You have to get balance in your physiological needs before you can start building your safety needs etc. If you don’t have at stable foundation, you will face problems like frustration at other levels. To stop being frustrated you need to work on your basic needs.

To deal with anger I first have to fulfill my physiological needs. Get enough sleep, exercise, eat healthy food and cleanse my body. Then I can start working on my needs for safety at home, at work, balance my economy and order.

For a few weeks I have been working on sleep and exercise; and I can already feel a change in my frustrations.



Understanding Frustration

Frustration © Erik Back 2012

Frustration © Erik Back 2012

I’m writing this bit because I easily get frustrated. When something goes wrong I immediately twist the event in my mind and suddently everything seems to go bad. I can’t help wondering what makes people feel frustrated and what can we do to stop the frustrations?

Browsing the Internet gave me a few insights from an article at Erupting Minds:

  • Ignoring frustration leads to pain
  • Fustration is due to unfulfilled needs
  • Long term ignoring results in depression
  • The feeling of frustration comes from not being able to satisfy your needs, wants or desires through your own actions and efforts.
  • Frustration is lack of control of your life.
  • Lack of control leads to uncertainty and fear.
  • Frustration is loss of personal control
  • A person that is frustrated feel trapped; this cause them to feel fear
  • Frustration is a means to success

This morning I listened to a speech by Tony Robbins; he explained how we need uncertainty in our life. Uncertainty will give frustrations, so, how can uncertainty be something we need?

Maybe the problem in my frustrations are that I don’t know how to deal with them. By learning about my frustrations I will turn uncertainty and frustration into an asset that will fulfill my needs?

There a basically three ways to deal with a situation:

  1. Accept things as they are
  2. Leave the situation
  3. Try to change the situation

Four ways to stop frustration

  1. What I’m doing now is not working; find a different apporoach.
  2. Identify the feeling: Fear or anger?
  3. What am I doing that is not working?
  4. Do something to satisfy a currently unfulfilled need

Seven feelings and their message

  1. Boredom (the need for mental stimulation)
  2. Anger (a feeling that something is unjust)
  3. Fear (you feel threatend by something)
  4. Sadness (you are not happy with the way things are)
  5. Loneliness (the need to be with others)
  6. Stress (you need some time to relax)
  7. Feelings of inadequacy (you don’t feel confident in your abilities)

To find out what to do to satisfy a currently unfulfilled need, Ihave to be persistent. I have to try again and again before I succeed. Frustration often comes out of failure of some kind; but success, says Edison, comes from faliure. So, in som bizarre way, my frustration is the first step to success, provided I choose to act upon it.

How to find the need to fulfill

Step 1: What is causing me to feel frustrated?

Step 2: What is it I am trying to do?

Step 3: What need am I trying to fulfill?

By asking these questions I can better identify what my primary feeling is.

Tony Robbins: Resources are not success, resourcefulness is!

Trying harder will not help you fulfill your need, but trying a different approach will!

This post is a working paper. It’s purpose is to explore frustration.





Why You Hate Change and Love Variety

Variety © Erik Back 2011

Change is everywhere and the world is in constant change. Experts say that change is good and a lot of us maintain that we love change; but we don’t!

I must admit that I have always thought that I welcomed change. That was until I had a personality profile made. First I ignored its insane suggestion that I’m reluctant to change. I write about change; I preach change; I love change!

But I was wrong. I don’t like change – I like variety… and so do you!

Change vs. Variety

We need change to develop. If we want to achieve and have success or to be happy, then change is necessary. Since we don’t like change we have to learn how to cope with change and learn how to create change to develop in a positive direction.

Big changes, whether they are good or bad will create stress. Unforeseen change will always make us feel uncomfortable to some degree. Some people cope better than others do, but we all have our limits.

Too many changes at one time will break you and that’s why you do not like changes.

Variety is different. Variety is something you need to stay motivated. Variety is doing what you do in a different way without changing it. Maybe you choose to go another way to work or maybe you ride your bike instead of driving your car to work. You don’t quit your job.

Variety is what makes you see the world and your life from another perspective and sometimes that is what you need to create change. That way variety can be a means to change.

Change has a more permanent character than do variety.

Have you experienced big changes that made you uncomfortable? How did you cope?


If you would like to take a personality test like the one I had made, then try a free DiSC test on 123Test.

The Purgatory – a Stage of Purification

Kremlin Church © Erik Back 2005

In my last post [I Was Stuck in the Purgatory for 10 Years] I used the Purgatory to explain my path to a new stage of life. But what is the Purgatory?

Is the Purgatory an idea strictly reserved Catholics?

I decided to look up the Purgatory concept. I found that most beliefs have a concept much like the Purgatory. It is a process of purification.

In the old Egypt the pyramids had a chamber of purification and in Buddhism your whole life is a purification process.

In today’s society it is more and more common to search yourself and find peace. We write books and articles about how to become better individuals and how to be healthy and happy to spread the happiness we achieve.

I’m not to judge the Purgatory concept. I believe that it is up to you to decide what it means to you.

What do I make of the Purgatory?

Basically I see the Purgatory as a process of purification of both body and mind. It is a constant process we have to do to develop ourselves and to reach our life goals.

To get to another stage of my life I have to let go of the previous stage. I have to clean up my clutter and take my good experiences into the future.

There is a lesson to be learned at every stage of life and if we don’t learn that lesson we won’t be able to move on to the next stage.

What is the Purgatory to you? Is it a purification process that most people have?

Should we try to cleanse body and mind to become better individuals? What do you do?

Is self-development a process of purification?

I Was Stuck in the Purgatory for 10 Years

Norwegian Mountain Top © Erik Back 2000

It’s funny how we move through different stages in life.

At one stage we like to do certain things that we don’t like at another stage.

For some years I have been stuck between two stages of life where it has been difficult for me to find peace. It was a living Purgatory where I had to do something to qualify to move on.

When my social circle moved on to the next stage in their late twenties I had to stay at that stage for another decade. It was fun at the beginning, but as I got older it felt more like suffering than good.

Why couldn’t I enjoy being 28 for the rest of my life?

People used to say that I should be happy and enjoy my freedom. Travel they said. But where would I go? I have travelled in USA, South America, Russia and Europe. It is starting to become tedious.

What was I supposed to do to be allowed to move to the next stage of my life? I settled with the idea of being single and 28 for the rest of my life, but it wasn’t satisfying. I wasn’t happy.

Clean up the Mess

As I turned 40 I met a sweet girl and I found myself moving fast to the next stage. I don’t know what I did to qualify but I think it all started after a long and focused cleansing of my body and mind. I cleaned up the mess.

My new girlfriend thought I was in the beginning of my thirties moving to the next stage and was a bit surprised to find that I just turned forty. She was only 29 and on her way to the same stage that I had been trying to get to for the past decade.

Yesterday I realised that I had finally found my way to the next stage in life. I live next to the university. Every year there is a tradition that all students take part in. Most universities have these traditions.

The festivity culminated at midnight and drunken students filled the streets. I was awake half the night cursing the loud music and drunken students. I realised that I didn’t miss that anymore.

A couple of years ago I would take part in wild parties and social gathering with games, alcohol and flirting. Just like anyone would do at 25 years old.

But tonight that did not feel appealing. I just wanted to sleep and get up the next day to go to work and earn a living to support my family.

My new girlfriend is pregnant and tomorrow we are getting married. I am happy to be at the next stage.

Life is fantastic!