4 Ways to Unlock Yourself from Chronic Frustration

There have been many times in my life when I thought I was angry, only to discover that it was really frustration. Frustration, at its core is wanting something to be other than it is: A different time; a different place; a different color; a different job; a different feeling; a different person. It doesn’t matter what it is, you just want it to be different.

Since you probably don’t have a magic lamp with a wish-granting genie inside, I am guessing that you have probably been frustrated at one time or another.

For many us, a lot of our frustration comes from our deepest desires being constantly unmet.  If you’ve been chasing something for years, and don’t feel like you’re getting any closer, you’re going to feel frustrated.  There may be times when you feel like screaming to no one in particular, “Just give me what I want already!”  And for some of us, it’s other people who seem to be our primary source of aggravation.  They’re simply not cooperative, courteous, appreciative, or thoughtful enough for our liking, or maybe they just refuse to see things our way.

So what is it that has you pulling your hair out, swearing under your breath, and banging your head against the wall?  Who is it that has you completely mad?  Is it your boss?  Maybe it’s your rude neighbors?  Does your significant other refuse to budge on an important issue?

Do you find yourself increasingly annoyed with our elected officials?  Why can’t they deliver on their promises? Are you sick of struggling to pay the bills, or tired of dragging in your studies?  Fed up with your dead end job?  Are you exasperated that no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to lose weight and get in shape?

All of these examples are common sources of frustration, and most of us learn to deal with and accept them.  However, some problems can get you so down, that they can negatively affect the quality of your life.  You could find yourself so overwhelmed and beat down by frustration that you start spending your days wallowing in despair.  Also, chronic frustration will eventually rob you of your motivation, and have you ready to just give up.

Unlocking yourself from feeling chronic frustration is not as hard as it might seem at first glance.  But it does require a drastic change in attitude.  You must resolve to stop giving in to feelings of hopelessness, and start finding solutions.  Here are four good tips for freeing yourself from the clutches of frustration:

Find A Way to Vent

A big part of frustration is the feeling is that nobody’s listening, nobody understands, or nobody cares.  Finding effective ways to vent and be heard can go a long way towards curbing the feeling of being totally flustered.  Annoyed with your neighbors?  Then join or create a neighborhood association to, among other things, address your issues.  Is there serious friction between you and your spouse?  Schedule a couple’s therapy session, or seek out the assistance of your local clergy.  Can’t seem to drop that extra 20lbs?  Arrange a consultation with a personal trainer or local nutritionist, and describe to them your weight loss challenges.  Heck, sometimes all it takes is the willingness to open up to a trusted friend or relative, and confide in them some of your struggles.  Although your problems won’t vanish instantly, the burden of carrying your angst in silence will be lifted considerably.

Set Goals

The most maddeningly frustrating thing about most bothersome situations is the feeling that you’re just treading water; in other words, you’re going nowhere.  However, by setting goals you’re taking definite action towards a solution, or resolution of some sort.  The knowledge that you’re actively working on the problem instead of just being frustrated about is very reassuring, and can help abate any feelings of defeatism trying to creep in.

When I felt thwarted by my sluggish weight loss, here‘s what I did:  I simply set a goal to exercise a certain number of times each week, and eat six servings of fruits and veggies every day.  That’s it.  This simple goal really helped me stay focused, and the realization that I would reach my objective, no matter how slowly, did wonders for my motivation.

Change Your Perspective

Rarely can you come up with an effective solution to a problem or challenge when you’ve given into frustration about it.  One way to free yourself from this trap is to change your perspective, so that you can see the positive in your situation.  Are you frustrated over work, or one of the lucky ones to have a job?  Is your wife driving you crazy, or are you counting your blessings that you have someone?  Is a client slow to pay, or are you fortunate to have clients?  Surprisingly, when you shift your stance this way, uncanny solutions to your problems often show up right out of the blue.

Get Creative

It’s a good idea to start thinking outside the box for clever solutions, strategies, and other ways to tackle frustrating problems.  Are the pounds coming off too slowly?  Start walking or biking to work!  I’m serious!  I used to do it, and trust me; I was adjusting my belt notch every two weeks.  As an added bonus, the additional exercise was an unexpected mood booster, and I felt much less frustrated in general.

Are you frustrated that money is always tight?  Then it’s time to take a hard look at your talents.  That’s right, your talents.  Everyone has a talent at something, or expert knowledge on some subject. Brainstorm long and hard, and find a way to use the Internet to get started.  This can work full-time, or in your spare time.

Fancy yourself an expert on, say, watches or camera’s for example?  Why not start a blog?  Blogs are often the starting point to a myriad of online income-earning opportunities.  Are you a wiz in the kitchen?  Get your name out there and do some local catering.  The list can go on forever, but the aim is to tackle your money problems head on, and alleviate your frustration by bringing in some extra bucks – and doing something you’re already good at.

Let’s face it:  frustration is a part of life.  As long as we want anything, frustration is bound to follow at least some of the time.  In addition, other people have their own quirks, habits, and idiosyncrasies so frustration with them is inevitable at some point.  Regardless, we don’t have to stay down in the dumps, or get depressed when things don’t go right.  Life will always present us with challenges, problems, and difficulties to deal with.  Our job is to stand tall in the face of problems, and discover ways to solve them.  Then you’ll find your chronic frustration has been replaced by a much more welcome guest:  peace of mind!


Lisa H. is a mother, blogger, runner and happiness seeker. Her blog, Getting to Zen inspires personal success through action. If you want to awaken your spirit, you can subscribe here.

In addition to blogging, Lisa is a co-author of Overcoming Fear: Sticking it to What’s Holding You Back, a unique program designed to help you get out of your own way and create the life that you want. To read more of Lisa’s articles, visit her blog. 

Photo credit: ‘Unlock‘ by Big Stock


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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