Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Frustrated: A Guide To Your Emotions
Published Dec 23rd, 2020 & updated on Mar 20th, 2021
If we could sum up feeling frustrated in one word, it would probably sound something like this: *screeching* UUURGGGHHHHasdbfygscveewk. And if we could also put an action to the word, it would probably look like banging your head on your desk (repeatedly). Yeppp, we all know the feeling very well. No matter what you do, it feels like nothing is going right. You’re exasperated. EXASPERATED. You fight back the urge to scream, throw something, or even shed tears (all of you fellow angry criers out there, we salute you!). Whatever the cause might be, the feeling of frustration is boiling inside of you and you just. can’t. take. it. anymore.
Maybe you’ve been dealing with a lot of frustration lately and wanna learn how you can work through this feeling. ‘Cause letting this feeling go unchecked, or control you? Not gonna work out for your wellbeing in the long run.
Anddd sometimes when we’re really frustrated, we do things in the heat of the moment that we really, reallyyy regret later. You might slam a door in someone’s face. Or maybe hang up on them in the middle of a conversation. Cue instantly feeling like a total piece of shit for letting your frustration take over.
But don’t worry! Just because you’re feeling frustrated, doesn’t mean it has to get the best of you. We can get this feeling under control, togethaaa. Let’s dive thru what feeling frustrated looks like and how you can cope with this feeling before totally losing your shit.
A Deeper Look At Feeling Frustrated
Even though we all know what frustration feels like, what really causes it? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, being frustrated means “feeling discouragement, anger, and annoyance because of unresolved problems or unfulfilled goals, desires, or needs.” Ooof, been there, done that!
Sooo ya, becoming frustrated is super common when things don’t go as planned. Think about it: when you achieve a goal, or your plans go smoothly without a hitch, how does that feel? Pretty great, right?! Maybe you beat your personal best running time after training for weeks on end. Or you got that promotion at work that you worked your ass off to get. Whatever the reason, you’re riding that high, feeling on top of the world and everything is totally, undeniably awesome. ‘Cause you got exactly the results you wanted!
Buuut on the flip side, when we don’t get the outcome we were hoping for, what do we get? You guessed it… we get frustrated! We’re disappointed that we spent so much time, energy and focus on something and things didn’t go our way. It just doesn’t. feel. fair.
It could be over something minor, like your new puppy keeps peeing on the carpet after you’ve JUST let them outside (ffs, good thing they’re so darn cute). Or it could be caused by something more ongoing in your life, like your partner isn’t picking up the slack in your relationship even though you’ve only shared how you feel 32798 times. Again, UUURGGGHHH.
How Feeling Frustrated Shows Up Mentally
Sooo, besides slamming a door and screaming into the abyss, what else can frustration look like? Here are some ways frustration shows up mentally:
You’re probably thinking: Umm, duh? But let’s dig a ‘lil deeper. Frustration stems from anger (check out the trusty feelings wheel!) so when we’re feeling frustrated, we channel all of our anger towards the person or situation that’s getting on our last nerve. Sometimes when we get angry, we’re just not ourselves. We act out. We do things without thinking. Which is why it’s sooo important to learn how to cope with feeling frustrated: so we don’t act on those angry impulses and do something we’ll regret!
2. Low self-esteem or loss of confidence
When we’re feeling frustrated because things aren’t going how we want it to, we can start to question ourselves. Is it something we’re doing wrong? Do we not deserve the things we’re working hard to get? It can be a huuuge mindfuck. We might put ourselves in a self-destructive mindset, instead of pushing through the slump we’re in. FYI: your feelings are normal, and nothing is wrong with you. We promise.
3. Apathy or feeling like giving up
Constantly feeling frustrated? You might just be tempted to take the easy way out. Why bother trying if we’re just gonna face disappointment again and again, right? And if we don’t try, then we don’t have to fail! This can be a tough thing to pull yourself out of once you’ve lost all patience, obvs. But you CAN get out of it! That’s why we’re here for you.
4. Anxiety and depression
These bigger mental health problems can come up if your feelings of frustration aren’t recognized and properly dealt with. Constantly feeling sad and uncertain about yourself or the future, combined with all of the feelings above, are a LOT to handle and can defs weigh on your mental state. But there’s ways to cope! Stay tuned, we’re almost there.
How Feeling Frustrated Shows Up Physically
Stress and frustration? They go hand in hand. If you’re feeling frustrated, it’s probably thanks to a ton of stress built up over time that needs to be dealt with.
If your constant feelings of frustration go unchecked, you could start experiencing symptoms like headaches, migraines, fatigue, stomachaches, ulcers, you name it. Nooo thanks, you can keep that shit far away from us!
Some people might abuse substances like drugs or alcohol to deal with feeling frustrated to help cover up the clusterfuck of emotions they’re dealing with. This can lead to addiction problems and other harmful, self-destructive behaviors that are really hard to break out of. Not ideal.
5 Ways To Cope With Feeling Frustrated
When you’re feeling frustrated, how do you get through it?! It’s all good, friend. We got you. Here are some tips that will defs help you overcome this emotion!
1. Move your body
Let’s get physical! Go for a walk, stretch, ride a bike, dance, you name it. Exercise releases endorphins and improves your mood. Plus, it actually boosts your energy and improves focus. It does alllll the things!
2. Practice deep breathing
Breathe in. Breathe out. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing has actually been proven to lower anxiety and reduce stress. Plus, deep breathing slows your heart rate and provides your brain with enough oxygen to chill out a bit (which you could use right about now).
3. Run your hands under water or splash face with water or hold an ice cube
Try to mindfully note the temperature of the water and the sensation of the water on your skin. The sensation helps by slowing your heart rate, lowering your cortisol levels (stress hormone), and releasing endorphins (happy hormone). Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But we swear, it really helps!
4. Practice meditation
Meditation is a method that’s been used to relieve stress and improve mental clarity since, like… forever. This practice allows us to slowww down and shift our mindset. If you’re not sure how to meditate, start out with a guided practice. Hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere!
5. 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise.
Engage all five senses and mindfully notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Go in any order that makes sense for you and your current situation – no pressure!
So, there you have it. You have all of the tools you need to work through your frustrated feelings and get on with your life. Remember, the best way to tackle our feelings is to dive thru it. P.S. – We believe in you!