When things aren’t going your way and you get frustrated, it’s best to take a moment to breathe and center yourself.
Otherwise, you might do something you’re gonna regret.
While I completely understand the urge to act in the moment, how we handle our frustration can make all the difference when it comes to our relationships and well-being.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 11 things you shouldn’t do when you’re frustrated.
Hopefully, this will help you develop better ways to deal with these moments of irritation and stress.
Let’s jump right in:
1) Don’t react impulsively
I’ll be the first to admit that on more than one occasion when I was frustrated, angry, or disappointed, I acted impulsively.
But later when I had the chance to gather my thoughts and calm down, I realized that my reaction had a cost.
If I had taken a moment before I reacted, I would have reacted differently.
And the result?
Things would have worked out better for me!
In other words, take a few deep breaths before you respond to a frustrating situation.
2) Don’t be quick to shift the blame
It’s easy to blame others when things don’t go according to plan, especially when it comes to teamwork.
But here’s the thing: Shifting the blame can escalate the situation, not to mention have serious consequences on the relationship you have with the other person.
And if it really is the other person’s fault, then find a way to be tactful and give constructive criticism instead of just blurting out, “You ruined everything!”
How does that sound?
3) Don’t use aggressive language
Look I get it.
The time you most feel the urge to resort to name-calling, yelling, and swearing is when you’re frustrated, right?
But while it may feel good in the moment, once you’ve had a moment to calm down you’ll probably feel:
- Embarrassed about how you reacted
- Guilty for hurting the other person’s feelings
- Aware that you’ve ruined any chance of getting what you want
Try to remain civil, no matter how you feel.
4) Don’t make hasty decisions
Boy, I can’t tell you the amount of times I made hasty decisions when I was frustrated.
I remember this one time when I was making a movie (yup, I went to film school) and this costume designer was being rude and bit**y.
And what did I do?
I said, “Okay, I’ll make this movie without you” and walked out. This was two days before the shoot!
I had to adapt and make a lot of last-minute changes, all because I acted in the heat of the moment.
Don’t be like me, think about the implications of your decision before you make it.
5) Don’t avoid communication
When I get frustrated with someone, I often get the urge to ghost them for a few days.
But the truth is that refusing to talk or listen usually ends up making things worse.
Instead of avoiding communication, try and have an open and constructive conversation about how you feel and what you would like to change.
6) Don’t turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms
I’m talking about eating junk food, drinking, chain-smoking, binge-watching Netflix… you know, all those coping mechanisms that are not helpful.
Try to acknowledge what’s going on.
That brings me to my next point…
7) Don’t bottle up your feelings
Instead, find healthy outlets to express your frustration, such as going for a run, meditating, or talking to a friend or therapist.
Trust me, bottling up your feelings is never a good idea and pretty much always comes back to bite you in the a**.
Best to deal with your feelings of frustration as soon as you can.
8) Don’t isolate yourself
If your frustration is getting so extreme that you just want to get into bed and hide from the world, I strongly encourage you to seek support!
Talk to someone about what’s going on.
Trust me, it helps to get stuff off your chest and who knows? They could help you find a solution to your problem.
And even if you don’t want to talk about it, social interaction is bound to make you feel better.
Recently I was going through a hard time and I was all mopey at home.
Then I went to walk the dogs, ran into some people I know, got to talking, went out for drinks, and before I knew it, I was feeling recharged.
9) Don’t dwell on negative thoughts
In my experience, negative thoughts usually pop up when I’m going through a hard time – when I’m frustrated, angry, or even sad.
And when negative thoughts come up, if I give them more attention than they deserve, they’ll stick around until they’re all I can think about.
Later, I’ll regret spending so much time consumed with worry, panic, and whatever else my negative thoughts provoked in me.
Don’t let your negative thoughts take over, challenge negative thinking patterns and instead, focus on finding solutions.
Can you do that?
10) Don’t procrastinate
Being frustrated can be overwhelming so I get the need to take a step back.
That’s why I recommend taking a moment to breathe and reflect.
What I don’t recommend is taking too long and procrastinating.
Because it’s just postponing the inevitable which, believe it or not, can end up increasing your frustration in the long run.
You’d regret that, wouldn’t you?
Best to rip off the band-aid if you ask me!
11) Don’t neglect self-care
Don’t let it eat away at you and remember to take care of yourself.
Remember to eat, exercise, take part in activities that make you feel good and relaxed, and don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest.
On more than one occasion I’ve gone to bed a total mess, only to wake up feeling composed, rested, calm, and ready to tackle a new day.
Tips for dealing with frustration
Now that you know what you should avoid doing when you’re frustrated, I’m gonna share with you some tips I’ve found useful for dealing with your frustration.
1) Identify the source
It’s not uncommon to feel frustrated and irritated without knowing why.
You see, sometimes we have so much going on that we forget to check in with ourselves.
That’s why it’s important to reflect on what’s been going on in your life – so that you can pinpoint the cause of your frustration.
Once you understand what’s triggering your frustration, you can start to deal with it.
2) Take deep breaths
I’ve mentioned it in the previous section and I’ll mention it again because it’s super important.
When you feel frustration building, pause and take a few deep breaths.
Turns out that deep breathing can help calm your nerves.
What’s more, it will help you think more clearly and reduce the intensity of your emotions.
3) Take a break
Look, it’s okay to step back from a situation when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
I’m not saying you should run away from the problem, but a short break will give you time to cool off and help you see things from a new perspective.
4) Physical activity
Nothing beats the build-up of frustration like physical activity.
I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated lately so yesterday I spent hours cleaning the house and today I went for a hike in the forest.
Trust me, going for a walk or doing some exercise will help release any pent-up frustration and get those feel-good hormones going.