Have you ever felt really annoyed that things are not going your way? You know, one of those days where you get up on the wrong side of bed and nothing goes according to plan?
If you have, then it’s likely your familiar with feelings of frustration. When we’re frustrated, it can at times feel like the world is against us as we struggle to regain control of everyday things. So before I take you through a 5 step strategy to reduce your frustration, first let’s get an understanding of what frustration is and where it comes from.
What is frustration?
If you think about it, frustration is an emotion that pops up when we don’t get what we want. It’s essentially ‘control’ in action. Next time you feel frustrated, check in to see if you are feeling out of control and I’ll bet the answer is yes.
We tend to feel frustrated when we can’t control what’s happening around us. For example – have you ever planned out your day only to have a few unexpected ‘things’ pop up out of blue? Suddenly it’s not an option to carry on as you had planned, now you have to make some changes and feel forced into doing a few things that you hadn’t anticipated. Before you know it those feelings of frustration are starting to bubble up and you’re muttering things like:
* “I don’t want to be doing this.”
* “Why can’t things just work out as I planned!”
* “Why does everything have to be so hard today!”
* “Why me?!”
Stop fighting life
All of these thoughts are essentially you trying to fight what is happening in that present moment. This is pure resistance in action – and it’s this resistance that creates frustration. I once read somewhere that we must ‘Stop fighting life.’ That thought has stuck with me ever since because it rings true right?
Why do we fight life, instead of just allowing it to flow? And even more poignant – can we ever win a battle against life? In my opinion – the answer is no. In which case, if it’s pointless trying to fight life, we may as-well accept it right? Go with the flow?
Carl Jung has a really great saying:
“What you resist persists.”
It’s so true. Have you noticed how the more frustrated you get, the more of what you’re resisting persists? It’s like a blockage is created somehow by the very act of resistance. Before you know it, more and more of what you are resisting is showing up in your life and you spiral into a whirlpool of negativity.
I’ve talked about the power of thoughts before in a few articles (How to Think Yourself to Success, The Most Important Conversation you Will Ever Have), and my belief is that we get what we think about all day. So if we think about what we don’t want all day long, then this is (unfortunately) what we will get in life.
Take this approach back to frustration and if you think about it, the very act of resistance is pure negative thinking. When we resist something we are thinking specifically about what we don’t want. So, this is pure negativity in action – without us even realizing it!
The danger is that this behavior is like a chain reaction – once given permission to be negative, the brain goes to town and finds all sorts of other negative things to focus on and this can have a really detrimental effect on our lives.
We must take control of our mind and our thinking, before it takes control of us.
Here’s a thought for you. What would happen if you were to accept everything that’s happening to you? Instead of resisting changes as they happen, you were to first notice any resistance and then secondly allow this change to just be what it is. To let go of trying to control whatever is happening to you. Some call this:
The art of letting go.
When we let go, there’s no room for frustration or resistance because we are not trying to fight anything, So instead of attempting to control life, we are flowing with life. Now I don’t mean that we should roll over and just let life happen to us. I don’t mean that at all. We still must take action and make things happen. But Open Minded Action – where we are free to things happening in ways that are unexpected, often ways that turn out to be much better than we could have ever planned.
Steven Speilberg was a master of open minded action during the filming of his blockbuster movie Jaws – I have to say his story is one of the most incredible, inspiring stories I’ve ever heard and I urge you to read it here: How Steven Spielberg Escaped Failure with Jaws. If he can overcome so many intense challenges and go on to make one of the highest grossing movies of all times, then you too can learn to let go of your own frustrations and move towards a happier and more complete life.
Simple Life Strategy: 5 Steps to be Less Frustrated
1. Become aware. Notice when those feelings of frustration start to creep up on you.
2. Identify why you are frustrated. Is it because you are trying to control something?
3. Remember the saying ‘What you resist persists.’ Know that if you keep resisting whatever is happening to you, more of it will show up in your life.
4. Consider if you are thinking about what you don’t want. Remember that this is essentially negative thinking in action and is to be avoided at all costs.
5. Accept what’s happening. Simply let go of trying to control your situation and accept it. Instead of fighting life, flow with it and notice how much easier things become.
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More Simple Life Strategies:
- How to Identify Your Learning Style in 5 Minutes
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- 5 Ways to Increase your Happiness Today
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