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Published on November 9, 2018

Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track

Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track

The problem with frustration is that it can cripple in on anyone, but it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where it comes from.

What is frustration really? If we ask the dictionary, it tells us it’s the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. This doesn’t really give us much of an in-depth explanation of our frustration, so how can we solve this problem?

The reason behind your frustration can be complicated, but we’ve gone over different — yet common — reasons of frustration, because once the source is found, you’ll be able to get right back on track.

1. Make your failure a lesson

A failure has as a way of shifting our mentality to a sense of lack. It’s normal to get frustrated by a failure. We’re often hit by one failure after another, which understandably leads to frustration.

Instead of seeing it as a failure, you should take a note from Thomas Edison’s as he said:

” …didn’t fail, [but] …discovered 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

We’re tested every day with small as well as big things, but even if we don’t succeed, we’ll be able to learn from it.

By changing your perspective on failure, you’ll be able to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. A failure can go from a frustration into a stronger willpower, but it all starts by seeing it as the beginning instead of the end.

2. Focus on today

These days, anxiety is one of most common mental health disturbances experienced by youth. [1] While anxiety can’t be explained or simplified by one thing, it’s been known that the pressure on creating the right future and the perfect life have put a new and bigger pressure on the next generation.

While it’s important to create and plan a future, you shouldn’t let the frustration of not knowing what’s ahead of you destroy your mood. It can overwhelm anyone to stress about tomorrow, next year and ten years from now.

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Rather than constant focusing on what’s coming, you should focus on today. Today is the one day you have. You can’t go back and you can’t take control over any other day. Today is the day; you can do anything and nothing.

Take a moment to breathe and grab the opportunities you have today. If you’ve been putting off something, then do it today. If you haven’t had fun for a while, because you’ve been too frustrated and focused on tomorrows problems, then take the day off and have some fun. Today is the only day that you have actual control of.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

We live in a competitive world, which isn’t exactly breaking news, but after the rise of social media, we’ve added fuel to the fire.[2]

Twenty years ago, we would look at our neighbour’s new car or look at their picket fence and compare it to our own. Today, we compare ourselves to celebrities, old classmates and strangers on social media.

Once we go online, we get instant access to other people’s lives. While it can be like a free entertainment magazine, it’s important to remember — like the magazines — it’s a blurred reality. At this point, most of us know we’re looking at a filtered reality, but we still get competitive and frustrated by small things like the lack of likes. [3]

Go offline for a week or two. Obviously, we live in a world where we can’t just remove our phone from our lives. We still need to be able to get in contact with our family, friends and work, but you can delete all your social media apps on your phone.

A break from the online chatter might be exactly what you need to get back on track and feel good again. It might be hard in the beginning as we’re programmed by habits, but once you get through some days without constantly reaching for your phone to look at the likes and shiny red notifications, you’ll feel better and be able to let go of unnecessary frustration.

4. You’re stuck in a rut – break free of it

The problem with being stuck in a rut is that almost everyone goes through it, but it’s hard to pinpoint where our frustration comes from with this one.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of life you’re living. In the end, we all get bored by doing the same thing over and over again.

It can be tricky because you can be perfectly happy with your life, but still feel like you’re stuck in a rut.

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Daily routines are what keeps us going, but it’s also what eventually slows us down and dries us up.

This doesn’t mean that you should quit your job, leave your family and buy a one way ticket to somewhere far, far away immediately. The frustration can be let go of by adding something new to your life or letting go of something no longer meaningful to you.

Try doing something that you always wanted to do but feel like you couldn’t, because the reality of it is — you can.

5. Appreciate what you have

Most humans are programmed to always look for improvement — how can we improve our relationship, work and ourselves? Sometimes, we get so focused on what we’re missing that we lose sight of what we have.

It’s okay to strive for more and allow the emotion of frustration to hit you, but let it be a quick reaction rather than a state of mind.

It’s easy to lament on what you want, but take a look at what you have for a second instead.

Let’s say you’re struggling with either work, family or friends. Let’s assume one of them isn’t working out at all at the moment. Then look at the other things you have going for you. Ask yourself: Do you have a good life overall? Do you appreciate what you have around you?

You’re most likely to find at least one thing in your life that you appreciate. Focus on the good and let the feeling of appreciation in.

6. Regain power if you’re feeling powerless

We enjoy being in control, but there is always something you can’t control. It could be the weather, someone at work, a friend of ours; which leads us to feel powerless.

It would be great (and easy) if you could just remove yourself from the situation that makes you feel powerless; unfortunately that’s not always an option.

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The cold hard truth is we can’t control everything. The good news is we do have the power to control some stuff. Try to regain power in another aspect of your life, which you’re actually able to have a say in.

Things like other people’s emotions towards us and sickness are two things out of many that are out of our control. Don’t fight a lost battle. Find something you can control.

It can be simple things like setting a fitness goal or learning a new language, or it might be bigger things like quitting your job or getting out of a toxic relationship.

You’ll realize you aren’t powerless by taking back power somewhere you actually can.

7. Acknowledge old pain or trauma

Life isn’t fair. We’re not born into the same types of life and we’re not dealt the same cards. Some  may have experienced trauma in their childhood, which we’ve never dealt with. Others may have some old pain left in them from a bad experience.

The frustration from unsolved problems will lead you to feel bad without knowing why. The only way to move past it is by dealing with your past.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should spend hours with a therapist (though there’re times that you may need a therapist or life coach for help), but by simply acknowledging your pain, it can set you free.

By getting a better understanding of yourself, your emotions and your reactions to certain situations, you’ll be able to let go of the frustration.

Try these steps to help you let go of the painful past.

8. Face your fear

Frustration can be a reaction to fear. Fear can be a big scary thing but it can also be a small thing that’s been building up.

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It may have started with a small task, but by pushing it back for a long time, it becomes bigger and bigger and it ends up creating fear and frustration inside you. These common fears can hold you back.

The only thing you can do fight your fear is to start taking baby steps today and do the thing you’re scared of. It’s almost never as bad as we think and afterwards you’ll end up feeling free and lifted.

This article about fight fear will help you too:

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

Final thoughts

Frustration can be caused by many things, but the one thing it has in common is that it can cripple us and set our daily life out of track.

It’s okay to feel frustrated, but the sooner you understand where the frustration comes from, the sooner you’ll know how to get rid of it.

Don’t be afraid to face these frustrations, you’ll only live your best life once you step out of your comfort zone!

Featured photo credit: Jeffrey Wegrzyn via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Maria Jensen

Specializes in personal and professional development.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness Your Life Is a Mess? How to Fix It and Turn Things Around How to Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement 7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next) Do You Have an Unfulfilled Life? 7 Reasons Why You’re Not Satisfied

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Last Updated on May 20, 2019

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

We sometimes hear people talk about the importance of living in the moment. We might hear about the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly racing?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then we’ll look at some of the obstacles, and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

Why Live in the Moment?

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

Living in the moment has innumerable benefits. Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.[1]

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and makes relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with him because we can make a much deeper connection with him.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind, and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.[2]

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

We sometimes worry when we don’t know how to deal with a problem. For example, have you ever received a letter from the IRS telling you that you owe more money than you thought, and don’t have the funds to pay it? This is enough to scare anyone who is not familiar with taxes.

How to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

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Learn How to Live in the Moment

By living in the moment, you calm your mind, and are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. So we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, living in the moment will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions.

Learn to Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with higher educations tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, and outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind, and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down. And an agitated mind wants to go to another place and time.

Unpleasant Situations and Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, and we can avoid them by taking our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to doing things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as eating, alcohol or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind, and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. So it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. As noted above, one thought starts an endless chain of thoughts. The reason is that one thought reminds us of something else, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function, or until we get distracted with something else.

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Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.[3]

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The news media draw our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.[4]

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful IS to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment. When you are mindful, you are fully in touch with reality because the present moment is where reality is taking place.

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counter-intuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then much of our understanding will come from simply observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

You’d be surprised to find out just how much your emotions and past experiences influence your judgments. What many of us do, including intellectuals, is make a quick judgment about a person or situation, then add the reasoning afterwards. That is not logic, but rather rationalization.

When you are mindful, you reserve judgment until you have more information. Notice how I said “more information,” and not “complete information.” It is impossible to have complete information about something because there are infinite numbers of factors affecting it. So the best thing to do is be as objective as possible, and always be open to new information.

Viewing the world in this manner can be a challenge, and takes some practice to overcome years of habitual thinking. But it can make our lives infinitely more fulfilling, as we’ll be able to make much better decisions that will result in real happiness and inner peace.

So if you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your busy life to help you live in the moment, that is, reality.

You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you, and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath, and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

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You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to give your mind a rest from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts

Also, there are many good books on the market that explain the concepts and techniques in greater detail. Some examples are

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting, or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone, or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking for training yourself to live in the moment?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing. But instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable, and can really help your mind settle down.

Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. So what many of us do is try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.[5]

So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

  • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
  • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself. Ask yourself, “Is this what my body and mind need to be healthy, and perform at an optimal level?” “Is it sufficient, or too much?” By asking yourself these questions, you will be more inclined to make better choices in the future.
  • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

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Mindful Activities

Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander, or get distracted. When it does, then just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

Notice some of the specific movements, or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

Bonus Suggestion

Here is one activity that is not generally considered a mindful activity. It is physical training. For those of you who already workout, it may be easy to see how physical training requires you to live in the moment.

Here’s how it works:

In order to perform an exercise to get the desired benefit, you need to use a proper technique. In order to use the proper technique, you need to pay close attention to how you are doing the exercise. In other words, you need to be fully present in the moment.

Another aspect of training that helps you live in the moment is tuning into what is happening in your body. First, during exercising, you need to pay close attention to how your body feels. Are you exercising hard enough, or not enough?

There are times to go easy, such as during warm-up exercises; and times to push yourself hard, such as when you’re warmed up and want to stimulate growth.

Second, when you’re not in the gym training, you need to pay close attention to the signals your body is sending you. What nutrients and how much do you need to consume to support your training? How much rest do you need?

By tuning in to your body, you force yourself to be in the moment. So, physical training done properly is just about as effective as meditation, or any mindful activity, for developing mindfulness. It’s also great for your health.

Final Thoughts

Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time. And this will add up to greater peace and happiness.

Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning; but I can assure you, it will get easier fairly quickly.

The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying; and when you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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