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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.

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Last Updated on July 24, 2019

What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge. High-ranking people – your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or at the workplace.

The following is a list of characteristics of a leader who successfully leads a great team:

1. Stay Positive, Even in the Worst Situations

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing cupcakes or beers on Fridays can make the world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figure out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney (1901-1966), had his share of hardships and challenges; and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse.

    Lesson Learned:

    Break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

    Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down — Because sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

    2. Exhibit Confidence Everywhere

    All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

    Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high and the problem will be solved more quickly.

    If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go down hill from there.

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    Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

      Lesson Learned:

      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

      • List 10 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll be more confident about yourself.
      • Work on your strengths, do your best to enhance them.

      3. Have a Sense of Humor

      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off, because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the work place.

      As president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes”,[1] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[2] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest – no doubt that helped during some tense moments in the White House!

        Lesson Learned:

        Laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

        Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspirations from the internet.

        4. Embrace Failures and Manage Set Backs

        No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

        Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear and binge-drinking under desks.

        Great leaders do in fact lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

        Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

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          Lesson Learned:

          Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

          To do this, use the 5 Whys problem solving framework.

          By asking “why” for 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

          You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

          5. Listen, and Give Feedback

          This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

          The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

          The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

            Lesson Learned:

            Encourage communication between team members and establishing an open door policy.

            Practice not to interrupt team members when they’re talking.

            Summarize what they say and ask for feedback every time after you have talked about your ideas.

            6. Know How and When to Delegate

            No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

            Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

            Although Steve Jobs is known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members – like Tim Cook – Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even while he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

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              Lesson Learned:

              To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

              • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
              • Talk with your team members more too to know more about their passion and interests.

              Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

              7. Inspire and Grow People Around

              Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

              Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

              Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk drew attention, because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                Lesson Learned:

                Spend time to talk with other team members individually to understand them.

                Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                8. Take Responsibility and Never Blame Others

                Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind.[3] This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                  Lesson Learned:

                  Ask yourself what you could have done better to prevent this from happening.

                  Take the responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

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                  9. Make Decisions Based on Lessons Learned in the Past

                  It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career (figuratively, of course). Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                  Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                  You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories, or search from your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                  Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake.[4] From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely – and it shows.

                    Lesson Learned:

                    Write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made.

                    Have all the lessons well organized and  when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                    10. Lead by Example and Commit to Do the Best

                    Great leaders stick to their commitments and promises, and they are the most committed and hard working ones on the job. All great leaders lead by example.

                    Why should your staff and team members give it their all if you don’t bother to? By proving your own commitment, great leaders will inspire others to do the same, as well as earn their respect and instill a good work ethic.

                    After 15 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was voted state counsellor in Myanmar – one of the highest-profile and most powerful positions in the country. She became a symbol of peaceful resistance when she attempted to bring democracy to her country.[5] In the early years of her detention, she was often in solitary confinement. Suu Kyi is a perfect example of committed and belief-driven leadership, which she openly demonstrated during her many years of house arrest.

                      Lesson Learned:

                      Some people learn by observing the way you perform a task, some need more detailed guidelines.

                      So dedicate time to demonstrate your work to team members, let them observe how you do it. Summarize the skills you use and let team members know how you make difficult things work.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader too.

                      Make small changes your habits when you work with your team – wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs.

                      But we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

                      More Articles About Leadership

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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