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.





My Sleep Habits So Far

However you see © by baileyraeweaver

I get up at 6.30 every morning with only two exceptions where I get up at 5.30 because I work early two days a week. It feels good to get up early and I do feel a bit more rested than before; I feel more energised and I get more things done.

The best change I have made in the waking process is sitting quietly drinking a glass of water. It is a cleansing habit that I am starting to feel the effect of. It was a habit I picked up from one of Leo Babauta’s articles on his blog Zenhabits; he highly recommends sitting and drinking a glass of water. I have tried it for a few days now and I will continue doing it to see the long-term effect.

When I sit it feels like the mind gets to clean up the clutter inside my head. Thoughts that I usually would not have or memories that I forgot about just pops up to entertain me for a while. The interesting thing is that I have noticed that I need those thoughts to better understand my situation and the tasks that wait during the day. Somehow my mind gets the peace it needs to dig out the resources I need today and I start planning my goals for today and how I will manage to get to those goals.

I can start my day with peace of mind.

At first it seemed ridiculous to just sit there with a glass of water; I didn’t see the point. I was already awake (I’m not the groggy kind of person) and ready to start working. But now I understand what benefits I get from just sitting and letting my mind clean up some of the cluttered areas. I will recommend this waking up habit.

Good Habit 4: Caring Cleansing

herbal essence © by loosepunctuation

When I was a child I had a lot of budgerigars and they could spend hours preen themselves. The budgerigars have a habit of mutual preening and they seem to care for each other. They have a playful nature and are very curious; they always seem to have extra energy to do acrobatic exercises or a prolonged chat.

Cleansing is one of the physiological habits that I found difficult to name because I had to find one word that covered personal hygiene, excretion and clearing the mind. Cleansing is everything you do to clean your body and mind to work well. Take some extra time every day to give your body more attention; it will help you achieving more. I have listed a few good basic habits to take up.

1. Shower. How often you need to shower depends on what you do, but shower at least every second day. Use an antiperspirant after showering.

2. Toilet. Go to the toilet when the need to, do not hold it in. Drink water to cleanse out waste matter.

3. Brush and floss. Brush your teeth and use dental floss. Your teeth are very important to your general health.

4. Skincare. Skin problems are usually an indicator of an imbalance in your body. Care for areas with dry or irritated skin and think about what you can do to get back into balance.

Physiological habit cleansing

Physiological habit cleansing © Erik Back 2012

5. Nails and hair. Cut your nails and wash your hair. Both are already dead cells but they indicate what shape your body is in. Spend time analysing hair and nails and see if you can change something to get better balance.

6. Meditate. Your mind needs cleansing too.

These are just some of the basic habits, but you can supplement daily cleansing with treatments of reflexology, massage, sauna and Turkish bath etc.

Good Habit 3: Delicious Diet

diet food © by skampy

A good and healthy diet is vital. Your body needs fuel to work and the quality of that fuel depends on what you eat and drink. You have to make a habit of choosing quality food that will optimise your body. That means you have to find a diet that produce the energy you need to perform both physically and mentally.

For a start I have made a small list of don’ts and dos that you can easily implement after starting today.


1. Don’t drink too much coffee. Enjoy a good and well-brewed cup of coffee in the morning and that’s it.

2. Don’t drink too much black tee.

physiological habit diet

Physiological habit - diet © Erik Back 2012

3. Don’t drink alcohol.

4. Avoid white sugar.

5. Avoid white flour.

6. Avoid white salt.

7. Avoid tobacco.

8. Avoid cola and soda water in general.


1. Drink water.

2. Bake your own bread.

3. Eat wholemeal.

4. Eat vegetables.

5. Bake your food instead of frying.

6. Drink herbal tee.

7. Eat vitamins and minerals.

8. Eat five to six meals every day (Three large meals and three small meals).