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.

 

 

Keep It Simple – One Habit a Month!

162 - Juggling balls © by MrB-MMX

Today I was up at 6.26 and the habit of getting up early is starting get implemented. I have to keep working on this habit. I have tried to create other habits simultaneously but I failed and I realised it is because you can only create one or two habits at the time. Leo Babauta from ZenHabits suggests that you only focus on one habit for about a month and then you can start creating another habit. [6 Rules for Dealing With Habits vs. Tasks]

When I start I project I always get over-excited and I want to do everything at once. But a good and healthy habit takes time and it is worth waiting for. A habit can take as much as 8 months to qualify as a habit. That means you have to keep focus on this habit for 8 months before it becomes something you just do without thinking about it. That is why you don’t want to create more than one habit at the time.

I failed when I tried to add a new habit every week except from two habits: Getting up early and sitting and drinking a glass of water. I could manage these two habits at the same time because they are closely related and have simple rules.

In an article on Pick The Brain by Scott Young [Tips for Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits] he suggests that you keep the rules of the habit simple or you will fail. As he puts it: “Simple rules create habits, complex rules create headaches.”

I did exactly what he says I shouldn’t do; I wanted to exercise at least 30 minutes every day but it became hard for me to do because the rules were too complicated. I defined and scheduled different kinds of exercise that had to be done on specific hours on specific days. I managed to do this for almost two weeks and then I lost the desire to do the exercise. It became something I had to do but didn’t feel like doing.

According to Stephen Covey a habit consists of knowledge, skills and desire. If you don’t have all of them you will fail. I only had two and I failed. I failed because I didn’t keep it simple.

Take Exercise Step by Step

Hard snow #7 © by angelocesare

My exercise habit is troubling me. I’m an active person and I have always loved playing sports and doing exercise, but for some reason it is difficult to implement at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for people who never do exercise and don’t like doing it.

Anyway, I’m sure it is possible to get there if I do it right. Things take time and just like getting up and becoming an early riser I will have to set myself a goal an gradually work my way to that goal.

The first week of exercise went well but the difficulties began when I had a full day of work and other appointments. There is just not time enough to implement an extra 30 minutes of training, at least not right now. I have to slowly adapt to a new lifestyle and new habits and habits can take up to eight months to form.

I do want to do exercise and I have a desire to do exercise; but I have to be honest – I don’t feel the desire for running five kilometres at 6.28 in the morning when the moon is still up and white frost covers everything. It takes a lot of self-discipline to get out under those conditions!

Make a plan

To get exercise every day you have to make a plan:

1. Find a goal and write it down. (E.g. exercise at least 30 minutes every day)

2. Set a deadline for your goal. (E.g. by 1st of June)

3. Make a schedule for each day of the week that shows what kind of exercise you would like to do. (E.g. Monday – swimming; Tuesday – fitness; Wednesday – swimming; Thursday – yoga; Friday – running; Saturday – surprise; Sunday – running)

4. Plan every day step by step. (E.g. join a sports club and attend training twice a week; then start running 10 to 15 minutes; then go to a fitness centre; then make a small workout plan starting with a few push-ups etc.)

The trick is to add a little extra when you feel ready for it. I have learned that you cannot do it all at once. It takes time to implement good habits. You know what they are saying: Good things are worth waiting for!

Resources

If you hate to work out then read this article at Summer Tomato: [How to Start Working Out When you Don’t Like to Exercise]

Can the making of good habits go too fast?

Scaffold Tree © by Webb Zahn

I was up at the usual time at 6.28; I poured myself a glass of water and sat for a while. It was nice just sitting there and letting my mind wander. My mind wanted to review what happened yesterday. My first lesson of yesterday was that I could only make a habit if I can find the desire for that habit; but that was not what I was thinking about. My mind was thinking about a healing session I tried.

I think it is healthy to try new things and to be open-minded. I am a reflexologist and I agreed to exchange session with a healer, so I gave her a treatment of reflexology and she gave me a healing session. I couldn’t feel a thing, and I was a bit disappointed I admit. But this morning my mind was rethinking what happened and I realised that I was filled with some kind of calmness that I haven’t felt for a long time. Maybe that healing did something to me after all?

I have learned another lesson by that: I have to consider that maybe I’m pushing myself a bit too hard? I have to accept that my mind and body have limits. Things take time and so does the making of new habits. I have learned that as long as I make new habits I have to accept that I cannot make too many new habits at the same time because then I risk building an incomplete foundation instead of a strong and stable foundation.

My foundation consists of sleep; exercise; diet and cleaning cluttered areas both physically and mentally. But if I break up all of my existing foundation to build a new and stronger one, then what will support my development if I don’t have any foundation?

It would be like building a house without using a scaffold. The scaffold is only a temporary device that stabilises the house while building it. Without the scaffold the workers risk falling down and the working conditions will be too hard and too difficult. You risk that the house will never be finished.

My existing habits are making my current foundation, they are my scaffold and if I want to strengthen my foundation I have to accept that I can only work on some of the foundation at the time or I will not have any foundation at all. My mistake was finding a new habit to implement every week. That is too much.

The past two days have been very important in the making of new habits. To sum up I have learned:

1. You need desire

2. You have to accept that habits take time

3. Do not push yourself

4. Keep a peace of mind

Feel the Desire for Your Healthy Habits

feeling down? © by twak

The healthy habits don’t feel healthy today; I am tired and I do not feel up to the mark. Why is that? I should be more energetic and feel better by implementing good and healthy habits. I woke up at 6.28 like yesterday and I sat with a glass of water in quietude to get a good start. I got something to eat and as I started writing – nothing came out except for the feeling of having to be creative.

About 8.30 I was supposed to maintain my exercise habit but for some reason I was not up to it and suddenly I felt this overwhelming feeling of guilty conscience. My girlfriend made me realise that I try too hard. I have an extreme self-discipline and if I don’t stick to my plan I feel like I’m letting myself and everybody else down. That’s not healthy, so what to do?


I had a cup of tee and read a bit of Haruki Murakami “1Q84” to relax. I like reading and I like reading stuff that really makes me think; Haruki Murakami is good at that. For some reason he always manages to give me what I need and today I read a few pages about this editor who is evaluating a writers manuscript. He says: – to be a writer you need to have a desire to write.

I forgot an important thing about habits although it is probably the most important thing at all. To succeed in making a habit you need the desire for whatever you are trying to do. If I don’t want to exercise today then I will not succeed. If I don’t want to write then I will not succeed. I have a strong self-discipline but today that doesn’t matter; today I have to find motivation for making my habits. I need to find the desire.