How to get rid of frustration and anger

18 Ways to Cope with Frustration

Frustration can be hard to put into words – it’s a complicated mix of anger, disappointment, and annoyance. For most health care workers, frustration levels are particularly high right now as many face PPE shortages, minimal workplace support, and a seemingly careless general public. Anger and frustration aren’t always productive emotions, and while we can’t necessarily control that we feel them, we can control how we react to them. If you need to release some of your pent-up negative energy, here are some healthy ways to do so:

  1. Do some breathing exercises: when having a strong emotional response, you may notice your breath getting faster and shallower. By regulating your breathing, you can get more oxygen to your brain and help yourself calm down. A good technique is 4-7-8 breathing: breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven, breathe out for eight


  2. Progressive muscle relaxation: one of the ways our bodies respond to heightened emotion is with muscle tension. Relieving that physical tension will help your mind relax too. Lay down and work your way through each muscle group: tense as you slowly inhale, and release as you slowly exhale. If you prefer some instruction, try a guided audio.


  3. Meditate: Meditation can be a great way to connect with your feelings, but it can also help you create space between your thoughts and emotions as you settle into self-awareness. Download an app like Headspace or Calm and look for a guided meditation that fits how you’re feeling. 


  4. Exercise: Physical activity is a mood booster, helps you regulate stress and adrenaline, and is a healthy way to release pent-up energy. If you can, try going for a run and really focus on your feet hitting the ground. If you prefer instruction, see if your local gym has online classes or search for your favorite type of workout on YouTube.


  5. Yoga: If you prefer low-impact workouts, yoga is a great way to get your body moving in a meaningful way. Yoga Pose has an online directory of poses searchable by symptom (like anxiety or back pain) and has categories including poses for calmness. 


  6. Vent: Ruminating on your anger only perpetuates it, so give yourself some time to let it all out with a trusted friend. As long as you don’t focus on it for too long, venting can be a healthy emotional outlet – just try to keep it to 15 minutes, and then move on to more positive conversation. If you want to vent anonymously, try an app like Lyf or reach out to Magellan Health’s free crisis hotline for frontline workers at 1(800) 327-7451.


  7. Journal: If you’re dealing with the the kind of frustration where you can’t even think straight, try writing (or typing) it all out. This can help you process a situation and calm your brain down so you can approach the issue with a more level head.


  8. Get outside: Spend some time in your backyard, go for a walk around the block, or head to your favorite park. If you’re crunched for time, even just stepping out for 60 seconds of fresh air can help you recalibrate. To really help ground yourself, slip off your shoes and let your bare feet touch the dirt or grass.


  9. Manage your expectations of others: Often, negative feelings come from misaligned expectations. Recognize that you can’t fully anticipate anyone else’s behavior; change your own mental framework so that you aren’t holding them to standards they won’t meet – it’s only hurting you.


  10. Treat yourself: Sometimes you just want to lay on the couch with a bag of chips and your favorite movie, and that’s OK! As long as it doesn’t become an unhealthy habit, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to some guilty pleasures.


  11. Spend some time with animals: Many people find animals to be a source of comfort and support. Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and lower blood pressure, as well as elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax[i].


  12. Distract yourself: Leaning into feelings doesn’t always help. If you need to detach from your anger, try doing something that requires focus (like a puzzle or reading).


  13. Take a nap: We all need a brief reset at times. If you hit a wall where you are completely overwhelmed with everything going on, set a timer for 20 minutes and climb into bed. The rest will do your brain well and checking out for a little bit often helps you go about the rest of your day with a fresh start.


  14. Start a garden or get a new houseplant: Numerous studies have found that the act of gardening can be beneficial for numerous health outcomes, including anxiety and stress reduction[ii]. Don’t have the outdoor space? Taking care of an indoor plant has similar effects on your mental health[iii].


  15. Get creative: Art is a great tool for emotional expression. Crafting, drawing, painting, writing poetry, and other art forms are all healthy ways to channel your anger into something fun.


  16. Turn on some music: Music has a powerful effect on our brains. Search for a playlist of relaxing or happy music to turn your frustration into a more enjoyable emotion. Bonus points if you dance it out!


  17. Get organized: Take ten minutes to clean, plan, or otherwise streamline something in your life. Turning your extra energy into something productive will not only help you get rid of some of that frustration, but you’ll also have accomplished something.


  18. Wash your face: It seems so simple but putting cold water on your face doesn’t just feel refreshing – it triggers your mammalian diving reflex which slows your heart rate and breathing. By reducing the physical symptoms of frustration, you can interrupt your brain’s feedback loop and reduce your emotional frustration as well.

[i] National Institutes of Health. (February 2018). The power of pets: Health benefits of human-animal interactions. NIH News in Health.

[ii] Soga, M., Gaston, K.J., & Yamaura, Y. (2017). Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports, 5, 92-99.

[iii] Lee, M.S., Lee, J., Park, B.J., & Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1). DOI: 10.1186/s40101-015-0060-8

Frustrated? Here's What's Really Going On

Frustration, if left unaddressed, can evolve to helplessness, annoyance, anger, or rage. You can overcome it if you get to the root of it and self-care.

Feelings of frustration are emotions that most of us feel from time to time. If you have a low tolerance for frustration, there are steps you can take to help you keep your anger in check.

Frustration is an emotion that you may experience as a result of feeling powerless or helpless at the moment. It can also be a precursor to anger.

It’s a common feeling that may occur when something doesn’t turn out as you expected, or is outside of your control, like waiting in a long line at the grocery store when you have somewhere else to be.

When something frustrating like this happens, it can create stress, especially if you have a hard time letting things go.

If you’re unsure what to do when frustrated, there are strategies you can use to help minimize the impact of frustration in your life.

When you’re feeling frustrated you can take a moment to pause and breathe. Focusing on your breath and breathing deeply from your diaphragm can help reduce negative feelings and ease any tension you may have in your body, according to a 2017 study.

Sarah Kaufman, a licensed social worker in New York City suggests trying these breathing exercises:

  • 4-7-8 breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  • Boxed breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

To help reap the benefits that come from this exercise, practice slow, controlled breathing that comes from your belly and not your chest.

The next time you’re feeling frustrated stop and ask yourself what may be causing you to feel this way.

You can notice your emotions as they arise.

Emotional wheels are very effective at illustrating root emotions and their related emotions. Putting a name to how you feel might help you to decide what productive steps to take to soothe your frustration.

If you know you get frustrated when there’s a long line at the gas station every Friday, you might take a beat to identify why you’re frustrated. If what you’re feeling is impatience, you can take steps to avoid time triggers and go on a less busy day.

If you get frustrated in midday meetings regularly, you might do a body scan and discover you’re hangry. You can take steps to eat something filling beforehand.

Taking the time to get your feelings down is a great way to help make sense of them. But only recap the situation that caused the frustration if it gives you peace of mind, says Kaufman.

“Freewriting can offer an opportunity for deep reflection and allow for emotions to come up that you didn’t know were there.”

Consider spending a few minutes when you’re feeling frustrated to journal your thoughts and feelings, this can help to decrease your mental distress as well as have a positive impact on your well-being, as a 2018 study shows.

Physical exercise produces feel-good chemicals in your brain called “endorphins,” these chemicals act as a natural painkiller that can help improve your sleep as well as stress, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

You don’t have to engage in a full-body, lengthy workout to reduce frustration, says Kaufman. “Try short, quick movements, like 5–10 minutes of crunches, jumping jacks, or pushups.

A common sign of frustration or anger is an increase in heart rate, which can increase your body temperature. By cooling down your body, you can lower your heart rate, which can reduce your feeling of frustration, says Kaufman. She and suggests trying:

  • splashing cold water on your face
  • holding an ice cube in your hand
  • going for a walk if it’s cool outside

The signs of frustration can vary from person to person. Common signs of frustration include:

  • anger
  • feeling anxious or on edge
  • irritable
  • annoyed
  • losing your temper

Remember, feelings of frustration are common. You’re not alone in frustration, but you can consider taking mindful steps.

Frustration is a common emotion that you may feel when things don’t go the way you expected or because of your inability to achieve something.

It’s usually associated with anger or prefaced by feelings of inability.

The key to managing your frustration is to understand your feelings by identifying them and writing them out. You can also change how it impacts your daily life by:

  • deep-breathing exercises
  • physical activity
  • cooling down your body

If you continue to feel overwhelmed and the strategies you’ve tried aren’t enough to help, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. You can visit Psych Central’s Find a Therapist resource to find a therapist right for you.

Joy of life - Disappointment in everything - how to deal with the problem?

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