How do I handle frustration?

Some background, some drama

Everyone is familiar with feelings of frustration, whether stemming from your efforts falling short of achieving a goal or someone else’s efforts failing to meet your needs. Coping with frustration is all about recognizing the sources that trigger the feeling and using the proper techniques to choose a different emotional response.

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t let frustration drag you down. Practice positivity and throw out those negative, self-defeating thoughts. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to handle frustration.


  • Recognize the triggers that cause frustration. Knowing what tends to touch a nerve will help you recognize when these feelings are likely to strike and avoid them whenever possible.
  • Practice stress-management breathing. Conscious, focused breathing can help you to avoid impulsive action or rash words. Before you act out of anger or frustration, pause and a take a deep breath.
  • Manage your expectations of others to avoid frustration. You can always control your own reaction, but never their behaviour.
  • Check in with yourself. The goal is not to let others walk all over you, while not over-dominating and walking all over others yourself.
  • View frustration as delayed success rather than failure. How you frame your situation will change your reaction and emotions and help you overcome frustration.
  • Spend time with supportive people. Find friends you can talk to about your frustrations, who will listen and won't judge you. A supportive mentor or counselor can help you talk these through.
  • Exercise to reduce stress.
  • Recognize negative behaviour. Frustration often leads to thoughts and behaviour that only make the situation worse. Arrest negative thoughts and aim for positivity.


  • Do not talk while you’re still angry. The expression of strong, negative feelings rarely helps a relationship. Step away until you've calmed down.
  • Never quit out of frustration. Appreciate that this is a tough world and we have to be persistent in order to accomplish. Never turn back in midstream. Follow it through to the end.
  • Don’t ever lose confidence. Besides the obvious result of quitting, you won’t trust your ability to carry out the tasks.
  • Don’t kill yourself over achieving something. Do your best and challenge yourself to achieve your goal but not at the cost of peace of mind.
  • Don’t adopt a defeatist attitude.
  • Don’t give in to procrastination, thereby failing in meeting goals.

Last words

It’s a tough world and we have to be persistent. Quitting is giving into frustration. Don’t turn back. Accept the frustration as a challenge - and love it! Remember with your chin up you can conquer the world.

Sources and citations