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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.

7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next) Start Living a Positive Life by Following These 4 Simple Steps Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It) Why Am I so Depressed Lately? 4 Things That Are Secretly Baffling You

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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