7 Keys to Overcoming Frustration

Frustration can keep you from moving on with your life and achieving success. Here are 7 things you can do about it.
7 Keys to Overcoming Frustration

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Frustration is our natural response when we haven’t been able to meet a set goal. Each person has a different degree of tolerance towards it, so our ability to bounce back varies according to this tolerance. Today we’re bringing you 7 keys to overcoming frustration that you can use to prevent these feelings from consuming you.

Often this reaction is accompanied by helplessness, stress, disappointment, and even low self-esteem. Throughout life, we have to deal with many frustrating situations, and so having the tools to deal with them is very important. Our tips for overcoming frustration will be a great ally for the future.

7 tips for overcoming frustration

Frustration is conditioned by multiple factors, both internal and external. Your expectations, willingness or interest to develop a project, the skills you have, your attitude, and your ability to solve problems are some of the most important ones.

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Experts agree that motivation plays a central role in frustration. It helps to reduce the likelihood of frustration happening, and helps you to recover more quickly when you do suffer from it Also, keep in mind that frustration is the emotional response you develop to failure.

In other words, based on your tolerance for it, you may show frustration in situations that you may view as a failure. With all this as an introduction, here are the best tips for overcoming frustration that you can use to get up and keep going.

1. Review what has led you to feel frustrated

We have already stipulated that frustration is the emotion (or emotions) you develop in the face of failure. In general, anger, disappointment, helplessness, stress, intolerance, and bitterness are the most common. In order to overcome frustration, you have to first identify what has caused you to manifest these feelings.

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We’re not talking about the catalyst itself (a complicated assignment at work, for example), but what actually triggered the reaction (not completing the assignment on time, lack of skills and abilities to complete it, and so on).

Identifying exactly what made you feel frustrated is fundamental to understanding why you reacted in one way or another. It will allow you to see the problem from a different perspective, so that the next time you’ll have better tools to control it.

2. Accept what happened

A happy woman who is good at overcoming frustration.
Staying calm and reflecting on what happened is essential in order to deal properly with frustration.

Many people drag their frustrations along with them for months and even years. To prevent this from happening, you must accept them, but this also implies accepting that you didn’t channel your emotions well in the first place.

This shouldn’t be a major issue in our lives, at least if you consider that we all make mistakes. Mistakes are part of life, sometimes in the same proportion as successes. Accepting that you haven’t been able to achieve your goals doesn’t mean that you can’t try again to achieve them. This brings us to our next tip for overcoming frustration.

3. Learning from your mistakes

Researchers agree that frustration is a source of learning. This is something that we have known about for decades, and yet millions of people waste these opportunities to learn from their mistakes. Frustration will be a failure to us to the extent that we let it be. If you look at it from another perspective, then it will become a source of opportunity.

We have already encouraged you to identify the sources of your frustrations. Once you do this, and accept that things happened the way they did, then you can go on to learn from these mistakes. Here are some ideas that may help you:

  • Take a step back to breathe slowly and calm down when you think your emotions are getting the better of you.
  • If something isn’t working out the way you expect it to, stop and evaluate what you’re doing wrong.
  • Accumulated fatigue can work against you. Make sure you rest and recharge your batteries in order to perform better.
  • Regulate your expectations based on what you can do (higher goals can mean greater frustrations).

This is just an example, as the lessons you learn should be based on your own specific mistakes. The more you dig into your experiences, the more you’ll learn.

4. Be flexible with your next goals

Overcoming frustration also involves planning what you’ll do to prevent it from coming back to haunt you. This involves being flexible with your future goals, flexible with the time you expect to get results, flexible with your ability to adapt, with the time you can give yourself to calm down, and always taking into account the difficulty of the problem itself.

Many frustrations occur because you aren’t being kind to yourself. You treat yourself like a machine, and forget that attention, care, and self-integrity are also important. There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing your own things over other people’s, especially when you know that, by doing so, you’re saving yourself a lot of frustration.

5. Acknowledge your limits

We all have limits. It’s not wrong to admit it, quite the contrary. In this case, recognizing your limits will allow you to establish the difficulty of the goals, as well as to devise strategies that will allow you to overcome them. For example, if you sincerely recognize your weak points you can then work on them to strengthen them.

When you push past your limits without having done the latter, it’s natural for frustration to appear. Along the way you can take everything we’ve already discussed into account, especially everything related to learning from mistakes.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

A frustrated man.
Listening to the opinions of loved ones, or simply feeling their affection and interest, is a real help when facing difficult situations.

Sometimes the key to overcoming frustration is to ask for help. By this, we mean both professional help and the help you can find around you. Remember what we said at the beginning: we all have different tolerance levels, so don’t expect your recovery process to be the same as everyone else’s.

Your partner, a friend, a family member, or a colleague can be a shoulder to “cry” on to vent your frustrations, not to mention the fact that they’ll be able to help you identify where the problem lies. If the problem persists you can always opt for professional help, as it’s very likely to be related to other problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and others.

7. Get up and move on

In the end, the only viable solution is to get up and move on. Every fall implicitly implies the need to get up, so sooner or later you’ll have to do it. Of course, take your time and sort out your thoughts and feelings, so that the next steps you take are safer and firmer.

Frustrations are a part of life. They aren’t unique to you, as we must all deal with them as part of our journey. The same goes for mistakes, failures, or disappointments. This doesn’t mean you have to get used to them, but simply understand that they’ll come. That way you can be more prepared when they do.

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  • Krieglmeyer, R. How to overcome frustration? The influence of frustration on motivational orientation and motivational intensity (Doctoral dissertation, Universität Würzburg). 2007.
  • Yulis San Juan, A., & Murai, Y. Frustration as an Opportunity for Learning: Review of Literature. In FabLearn Europe/MakeEd 2021-An International Conference on Computing, Design and Making in Education. 2021; 1-8.