7 Ways to Manage Frustration

“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.” ~ Bo Bennett

I started my own real estate and feng shui business this year, and already it is teaching me an important lesson: Things aren’t always easy.

The successful birthing of a dream or a vision takes a lot of hard work, action, perseverance, patience, and sometimes, prayers! It also requires an ongoing assessment of where your head is, especially when things don’t always work out the way you envisioned it.

Working independently has given me the flexibility, creative freedom, and personal satisfaction I couldn’t attain anywhere else. Doing so also did not come short of challenges.

No matter how much I planned and analyzed every detail, or anticipated every possible outcome, ultimately, I didn’t have control over anything or anyone. People didn’t always keep their promises. Above all, things change unexpectedly.

It can be incredibly frustrating.

The frustration hasn’t just pulled me down; it pulsated and “ate through” my mind, body, and spirit. The sensation literally took me to a dark place. It was so easy to give in to it and lose perspective.

I asked myself: What can I do differently to make myself less judgmental, less critical, and less crazy when things become unbearably frustrating?

I came up with and tried 7 methods and applied them more mindfully whenever I encountered a frustrating challenge. It didn’t fix the situation that needed solving, but I realized a less panicky me was the key that helped me successfully manage my frustration and regain new perspective. At the end of the day, I felt calmer and more optimistic.

Here are the habits I’m turning to when frustration rears its ugly head:

1. Take a time out. When you are constantly zooming in on the details without taking a beat between tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Take a pause or step away from any challenges. It gives you an opportunity to clear your head, let fresh ideas in, and re-evaluate the situation before trying again.

2. Talk to someone who is familiar with your situation. Reach out to others who have gone through similar circumstances. These are the people who can genuinely relate and understand what you’re going through, and are the perfect outlet to let off some steam. They can also act as a sounding board, offering valuable insights and advice that will leave you feeling encouraged, supported, and inspired.

3. Give yourself 24-hours to be “bad.” Give yourself a freebie day to indulge on the simpler things in life that you may not always allow yourself to enjoy. What’s a perfect “bad” day? For me, it looks something like this: Stay in pajamas all day, eat a lot of frozen yogurt (with sprinkles on top) without guilt, watch bad reality TV, sleep in, or play hooky. The biggest caveat to this rule is at the end of the 24-hours, you must brush off the sprinkles, shower, and make it your BEST day!

4. Do a productive and healthy task that distracts you. Watch a comedy at the movie theater to get you laughing for a couple of hours. Hit the gym or a yoga class – the endorphins will surely leave you feeling great! Go for a walk and take in some fresh air and appreciate nature. Attend to a personal hobby that gets the creative juices flowing. Do something, anything that keeps your mind off the frustration before returning to it with a brand new attitude!

5. Feng shui your environment. In essence, the principle of feng shui is about harnessing positive energy from your environment to promote a healthier and happier self. When you are feeling frustrated, you expend negative energy in your surroundings, leaving your space stagnant and dull. Consider some of these feng shui fixes: declutter and organize your space, create a pile of giveaways, bring in fresh flowers and plants, light a candle, or perform space clearing rituals. Not only will you be making your space more beautiful, you will also feel more in harmony with your home and work space.

6. Talk to someone who is NOT familiar with your situation. They may not completely relate to what you’re going through, but they are often the best person to lend an empathetic and non-judgmental ear. They can help boost your confidence and even give fresh ideas that you have not yet considered.

7. Take stock of the goodies in your life. One of the best ways to regain your optimism is to take an inventory of all the blessings you already have. Keeping a gratitude journal, for example, is one of the best tools to help you realize the abundance around you. It will help you recognize that whatever challenge, issue, or frustration you’re experiencing is merely a tiny bump on the road.

Bad days are inevitable. They come in waves – big and small – and often unexpected. How we deal with them is what makes or breaks us. What are some of your ideas?

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