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6 Ways to Keep Frustration at Bay

“To Conquer Frustration, One Must Focus Intensely on the Outcome, not the Obstacles” T.F. Hodge.

Recently, during one of career coaching sessions, a participant shared that he didn’t have much of a luck over the past few days. Firstly, he didn’t get a reply from his LinkedIn connection. Secondly, another contact he emailed also didn’t get him a reply. On top of that, a prospective client decided to engage another consultant for the project he was vying for.

It is common to feel frustrated and stressed during a bad day and over things you can’t control. In fact, according to a Happiness Study conducted by WooHooInc in 2018, almost 2 out of 3 people had at least one bad day at work in a week[1]. During a time of crisis, we will find ourselves dealing with a lot more situations that cause frustration. It is important to deal with frustration quickly before it leads to other negative emotions such as anger.

6 Ways to Keep Frustration at Bay

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Accept that There Are Certain Things That Beyond Your Control

The first step to deal with your frustration is to accept the fact that there are things, which are beyond your control. This does not mean that you are giving up control. Acknowledging and accepting that fact will help you to move on and change your mindset. (Image Credit: Victor Freitas)

Channel your Frustration

There are many ways to channel your frustration and focus your energy on other activities. According to an article published on MedicalNewsToday, exercising and helping others (giving) are two effective ways to produce endorphins naturally[2]. Endorphins can also help to alleviate pain and stress.

Talk to Somebody

Reach out to your family, friends or coach and talk about it. Talking about it may help to gain another perspective on the situation. It may also help to reassure that you are not alone.

Breathe and Relax

Whenever you feel that your frustration turns into anger, you can try this “breathe and relax” technique (which I have learned from my yoga instructor). (i) Close your eyes, (ii) inhale for 6 seconds, (iii) hold your breath for 3 seconds and (iv) exhale slowly for 6 seconds. Focus on the counting. Repeat 5 times to 10 times.

Alternatively, there are a number of online resources that offer a variation of breathing techniques, which you can do anywhere. For example, HealthXchange.sg has featured a few relaxation exercises on one of their online article, “Relaxation Exercises Coping with Stress”.[3]

Don’t Take it Personally

Sometimes you might not get a reply on LinkedIn or even on an email. Don’t take it personally. The people you are trying to contact might be busy as well or they might not be checking their LinkedIn on a regular basis. You can follow up in a few days and if there is still no reply after that, smile and move on.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”― Alexander Pope

Manage (or Re-Set) Your Expectation

Expectation breeds frustration. Analyse your expectation and the situation. Is your expectation congruent to the current environment? If it is not realistic, you can manage your expectation accordingly. Alternatively, you can also re-set your expectation.

In the midst of uncertainty and life challenges, you have the choice to decide how you feel and act. I will leave you with a quote from Victor E. Frankal, Man’s Search for Meaning“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

[1] https://woohooinc.com/happiness-at-work/study-bad-work-days-how-common-are-they-and-what-makes-them-bad/

[2] Endorphins: Effects and how to increase levels https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839

[3] https://www.healthxchange.sg/wellness/health-work/relaxation-exercises-to-cope-with-stress


Published by

Kai Sieng Fung
Career Development | Executive Search | Career Strategist | Executive Coach |