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“I’ve come to believe that all my past failures and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”

– Anthony Robbins

How does frustration affect you? Do you get to a point where you want to give up? Do you turn to food or some other form of comfort? Or do you realize there is some good in frustration?

In the past, when I experienced frustration, I turned to food, spent hours in front of the TV, and found that I wanted to hide somewhere. (A nap?). These behaviors appear because I am not dealing with the real reason for my frustration.

Today when I struggle with frustration, I continue to fall into some of the above behaviors, but I found that frustration is an avenue to force me to learn something new and be more productive. Usually, I find myself frustrated when I don’t know how to do something that someone expects of me.

The expectation might be completing a grant I am unsure how to finish. I now spend time researching the issue, learning the correct verbiage to get my point across, and completing the part of the grant that frustrated me.

I am 61 and have started losing my words. This issue is VERY frustrating, and I have forced myself to stop, think, and take the necessary time to recall the word. Now, when I need to initiate a meaningful conversation, I will write down the key points, which helps me organize my thoughts and words. In addition, the frustration encourages me to find a pathway to carry on an excellent conversation.

I enjoy public speaking and have been able to share my story in public venues. However, I tend to experience frustration when putting together my talk and am not sure I will get my point across. I have learned to take that frustration, reread, make changes to the speech, walk away, and later reread and edit. I have a friend who reviews the talk and gives suggestions and feedback. Because I have stepped out of my comfort zone, I am doing what I love!

My frustration has also confirmed the things I don’t want to do.

I have friends that think I should enjoy creating a work of art (paint night parties, crafting, and drawing.) Unfortunately, the only thing I do well is color, which relaxes me. I have given in to my friends’ urging, participated in group art projects, and became extremely frustrated. I have learned that art is something I enjoy viewing but not creating. There is no reason to participate in things I don’t enjoy. I can go to the event and talk and encourage others.

(This morning, I did some work for a friend, I found that I am good at making flyers, business cards, and pictures on Canva – a site that provides photos, templates, and text to create what you need. I realized that I could be creative and enjoy it. I still will not participate in a paint night and crafting, but I will continue to work within my gifting and what I enjoy.)

If I had continued to allow frustration to rule my world, I would never have had the opportunities I do today!

So, what can you do when you are frustrated? The following are ten things to do when frustrated.

1) List five things you’re thankful for.

2) Step away for a walk.

3) Put on a “feel good” playlist.

4) Try a 10-count breathing exercise.

5) Focus on what you can control.

6) Keep a “frustration list.”

7) Stick a note on your desk that helps you reframe.

8) Think of one positive thing.

9) Consider the “3 Ds” – Do, Ditch, Delegate

10) Repeat an affirmation that resonates

I encourage you to reframe your frustration and figure out how it can help you!

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