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.



You Can Control Your Destiny!

I can fly! © by ace_eca41

There are different belief systems but I have chosen to believe that we can control our destiny if we want to. To control your destiny you have to take responsibility of your life and your actions. At university I studied philosophy and I was especially inspired by how the philosopher Thomas Hobbes defined the free will.

Free will and destiny go hand in hand, because the only way you can control your destiny is by having a free will. The question is of course – do you have a free will? To this question Hobbes answered yes and no, because he believed in a limited freedom.

It makes sense to me that my actions will bring a reaction of some kind and sometimes this reaction is predictable and therefore determined. E.g. if I choose to throw a rock at a window, it is destined to shatter.

This means that I have a free will within some boundaries defined by nature or other people’s will to suppress my free will. If I am in prison I cannot choose to go out even if I want to, but there is nothing that hinders me walking around in my cell or doing push ups if choose to do so.

Nature also sets boundaries that I cannot break even if I wanted to. If I choose to flap my arms and insist on flying then nothing will happen. I could choose to jump out of a plane and flap my arms but it won’t make me fly. My destiny is clear: I will plunge to the ground.

Thus, I believe that you have a free will to choose your actions and steer your life in the direction you want to. This way you are in control of your destiny. You can choose good habits and form a good and healthy life. E.g. if you choose to smoke 60 cigarettes every day you will become sick and die sooner than if you choose not to smoke.

It is your choice of attitude, beliefs and habits that decide your destiny and you have the possibility to choose within a set of boundaries. You can read more about this topic if you look up ‘compatibilism’. This is an interesting and complex topic and there is a lot of debate whether it is true or not.

Please join the debate and write a comment: Are you a determinist? Do you believe that we have a free will? Can we control our destiny?

Thank you for your support!

How Your Thoughts Become Your Destiny

Thinking... © by I .. C .. U

Browsing the Internet for quotes I found this one:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

I am not sure who the original source is but after a quick search I found that a Finnish opera singer, Tom Krause, should be the source. Actually the source is not important; the quote is good anyway.

The quote stresses how thoughts become your destiny following a pattern that makes your thought become your reality.

Thoughts – words – actions – habits – character – destiny

Let us say that you have a negative thought… but where does that thought come from? Did you wake up this morning saying: “Today I will have only negative thoughts!” No, I do not think so. The thought is always induced by something; maybe it was induced by some experience or event. This means we need something prior to thought in the pattern from the quote – like ‘event’?

Yes, event makes sense, but it will not fit the quote because you cannot watch your events; they would be out of your control. But what is not out of your control is your perception of events. You can choose how you will perceive an event or experience. You have the power to choose to see life from a positive angle rather than a negative. I think that is what the quote is trying to tell us.

If you choose to perceive events from a negative focus you will convey the experience in negative words and they will induce some kind of negative action. If you keep doing this then your negative attitude will become a habit. From one of my other posts you know that habits are the building blocks of your life and if you choose to build your personality from negative building blocks then your life and destiny is going to be a negative experience.

Do you want that? No, you do not – that is not the nature of man. We want security and happiness and you can get that if you start watching your thoughts.

I Have a Cold Because of Bad Habits

missy with kleenex © by adamdoesit

I have a strong health and last time I caught a cold was spring 2010 after a break up. When the routines and habits that form your foundation crack then your immune system will weaken and you are more likely to catch a cold. Almost two years after my last cold I have another one. I am not complaining because most people catch a cold at least three or four times a year.

But the reason I caught a cold this time is that I have been stressed. I have had too much work, too many worries and too little sleep. My to-dos have piled up and they seem endless. No matter how much I do or how much I work there just does not seem to be and end to the tasks and to-dos. I have a flat tire on my bike, articles to be written, groceries, papers to be handled, bills to be paid and invoices to send, a budget that seems unrealistic and … I could go on all day.

The problem is not that I have a lot to do the real problem is my habits. Somehow I lost control of my habits and somehow some of my habits have turned into bad habits because the environment has changed. Business has not been well for a while and a lot of changes have been necessary, but I forgot that big changes in the environment demand big changes in habits and routines. It is time to tear down some walls and build some new ones, better and stronger than before.

The sooner I change my habits the sooner my health will become strong again. In times of change the most important thing is to keep a cool head and peace of mind. If you have a cold right now, then think about your habits. I recommend that you read my article about Zen habits to get better.

What Is a Habit?

Red Traffic Light © by dlofink

According to the dictionary a habit is: “… a routine behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.” We need habits to make a solid foundation upon which we can build our life. Sometimes these habits become a hinder to what we want because they have turned into bad habits. That often happens when conditions in our environment change and we do not change with these conditions.

E.g. every day you drive the same way for work, and you have done it for years. If someone at work would ask you how many traffic lights you saw on the way and how many of the traffic lights were red, then you would not be able to answer. Driving to work is a routine that you do not think about and your subconscious mind has taken over most of your driving.

Many years ago I drove my car the same way every day and one day I missed a traffic light and ran through a red light. How could that happen? Well, the traffic light was new and it had never been there before and was not a part of my unconscious routines. My old habit suddenly had to change or it would turn into a bad habit of running through red lights.

Habits are very powerful because they are actions that we do without having to think about what we are doing. That is why you can take charge of your own life and destiny as soon as you learn how to control your habits. Old habits are very difficult to break and new habits are difficult to make because the routines of the habits are programmed into your neural pathways and you need to reprogram yourself to control your habits.

Aristotle said that virtues are habits and the good life is a life of mindless routine. Basically this means that your life equals your habits. If your habits are good you will have a good life, if your habits are bad you will have a bad life. Take a look at your life and see if you succeed in what you are doing. Are you happy? If not, then maybe you should consider doing thing differently.

Stephen R. Covey is the author of the book “7 Good Habits of Highly Effective People” and he found that habits are the sum of our knowledge, desire and skills. I highly recommend this book and in my upcoming posts I will show you how important emotions are as well.