How To Enrich Your Life With Frustration
Not the most welcome emotion in town, yet often a frequent visitor.
Frustration - that harbinger of stress, bewilderment and anger.
It boils over in relationships with oneself, loved ones, friends, colleagues and the person in the car next to you on your way to work.
On the intensity scale of life situations, it catapults you from 0 to 100 in a matter of moments, often leaving you dazed and confused about what the heck just happened, how, and why.
Take this, for example:
Another brilliantly sunny, but freezing cold day.
I walk into our school and notice a chill in the halls. Brrrrr.
I enter our room and walk into a wall of frosty air. BRRRRR!
Our handy-dandy thermometer reads 54 degrees. 54! Again!
If I were a cartoon character, I would have smoke coming out of my ears and boiling-mad red eyes.
My mind immediately churns with questions:
Why does this keep happening?
They know the system is old and unreliable, when will they fix this permanently?
How are the students and staff supposed to work, think and learn in this chill?
What can we do to warm them up?
Why has school not been delayed until this situation is remedied?
Aaaah frustration. No thanks. Stay away, opponent of my peace.
What If I Told You
What if I told you frustration can actually be something auspicious?
Yes, turn the burn of frustration into a cool challenge that pushes your personal growth to continually edge into a better version of yourself.
What if frustration can be your…ally.
Hear me out.
In those moments that you find yourself drowning in frustration, you have a choice.
Once the first punch of frustration fades, you can choose to use that energy of initial frustration to anchor yourself into the depths of frustration longer, or you can choose to use it to propel you into the realm of action and possibilities.
You see, just as an any good ally becomes a source of strength, frustration enriches your life and challenges you to become a better you.
You can count on it to:
Be a huge motivator
When frustration hits, a blast of energy instantly bursts through your body. It begs to be set free, to DO something to take care of the situation at hand, because what has already been done has not been successful. And you are not giving up that easily.
Your frustration motivates you to take action. And to take action in the most productive way you need to stay in the present moment and minimize your worrying. Why use your energy fretting about “what ifs” in the future and “what happened” in the past? Worrying is just throwing your energy away on something that is not helping you solve your situation.
Take a deep breath, stay present and put your energy to work, moving you forward by taking action.
Stimulate your creativity
Frustration stimulates your mind to find another way.
You are programmed to be a problem-solver, and frustration offers you the opportunity to do just that on a silver platter.
If Plans A and B did not get you where you want to be, create Plans C, D, and E. And what the heck, why not Plan F?
Your mind is racing with possibilities, so capture as many as you can. Think big and outside of the box. Think radically, differently; think with an open mind and a positive spirit.
You may not need them all, but the more alternatives you come up with, the more options you have and the less trapped you feel, in this situation as well as others that may arise down the line.
You will amaze yourself with the ideas you create.
Help you clarify your desired outcomes
In the moment of frustration, your desired outcome can become crystal clear.
You know the space you are in is not where you want to be, so something did not go as planned. Now is your opportunity to visualize what and how it is you would like things to turn out.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Why am I feeling frustrated?
- What outcome do I want to achieve?
- What do I need to do to achieve this?
As you create your mental image:
- Imagine what it feels like, physically, mentally and emotionally when you achieve your desired outcome.
- Imagine what it looks like, noticing all of the most minute details.
- Imagine what it sounds like as you achieve this outcome.
- Imagine the scent of your accomplishment.
By clarifying your desired outcomes, you set your intention and give direction to your next steps.
Remind you to take care of yourself
Frustration can easily wear anyone down.
In doing so, it fires off an in-your-face reminder of the importance of taking care of yourself.
What brings you back to your center, giving you joy and peace of mind?
- Go for a walk in nature.
- Treat yourself to some “me-time”
- Relax with a favorite song.
- Find humor in the situation, or bring humor to the situation.
- Do a bit of Conscious Meditation™.
Turning to these options in frustrating moments along with a positive attitude empowers you to address the situation with the highest good of all in mind.
Provide opportunities to look at things from a different perspective
First of all, recognizing that something has not worked out the way you had planned it to, you need to seek alternative solutions and pathways. This requires coming at it from varying angles and stretching your realm of possibility.
Secondly, it helps you to appreciate all that you do have. Your immediate situation may not be perfect, but there are aspects to be grateful for. Notice and appreciate these.
Lastly, notice your efforts and those of the people around you. Each of you bring different perspectives to any situation. Be aware of these, take in what resonates with you, and expand your own perspective.
Increase your ability to focus
Frustration demands focus.
Once you clarify your desired outcome, create your plan to achieve it, and visualize your achievement of it, it is time to go for it.
Each time you focus on supportive thoughts, options and actions in achieving your desired outcome you build confidence in yourself and increase your ability to focus.
So what do you say?
Perhaps it is time to encourage frustration to evolve from an opponent of our peace to an ally of our best self. Look at all it has to offer.
Perhaps it is time to roll out the red carpet for our mighty friend Frustration.
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If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).