We’ve all been there. But there’s hope.
Here are seven tips to help you deal with extreme frustration when it strikes:
1. Take a few minutes alone and just breathe. Deeply. Sounds basic, doesn’t it? But really, in the heat of the moment it’s not always easy to stay calm and think clearly. So spending a few quiet minutes to simply breathe (preferably with eyes closed) can help settle your nerves rather than fuel your frustration. And if you’re at the office or in a public place where time alone doesn’t seem possible, escape to a washroom.
2. Avoid being reactive. Biting the head off your nearest friend, family member or co-worker isn’t going to make you feel better (in the long run, anyway), especially if you haven’t determined what’s really bothering you.
And you may want to take a long pause before sending that nasty email! Emails are easily misinterpreted… and can be reread countless times. If you’re looking to send a scathing message to someone, draft it and then sleep on it. That’ll give you a chance to review it with fresh – and potentially calmer – eyes in the morning before actually hitting SEND and later regretting it.
3. Help someone. Lending a helping hand, listening to someone who needs to be heard, or volunteering gets your mind off your issues. And, making a difference in someone else’s life will put you in a more positive frame of mind.
4. Resist the urge to complain or blame. We all need to vent now and then, but pointing the finger at others actually puts those people in control. It focuses your attention on the negative and makes you the victim.
5. Look for the good. Although it is tough to see it when you’re really irritated, each situation has a positive, even if it’s a difficult learning opportunity.
6. Do something really silly. Sound strange? That’s the point. Doing something bizarre and outside your norm will startle your mind out of its negative thought pattern. A couple of off-the-wall ideas: unexpectedly burst into song (best done in front of others for maximum shock factor); jump up and down and loudly proclaim your love for the world (hey, you may surprise yourself and actually believe it). Oh, a note of caution though: you may want to avoid these tactics in business meetings.
Those examples seem extreme? Okay, it’s your turn to think of something silly that’d work for you…
7. Face it head-on. If a particular person is frustrating you, open the lines of communication. Airing the dirty laundry can make you feel a whole lot better… and clear up misunderstandings. If possible, approach the person diplomatically – he or she is more likely to be open to what you have to say.
If a particular situation is getting under your skin, see if you can do something to change it – or your perspective on it.
Or, if you don’t know why you’re in such a bad mood but you just are, then go back to #1 and BREATHE.
And remember, there are brighter days ahead!