Raise your hand if you’ve ever misapplied your aggression out of frustration. My hand is high in the sky. For example, I once went off on a street hot dog vendor at 2 in the morning. Why? I wasn’t happy with my life’s direction and I wasn’t being proactive enough to change it. I lived in frustration with no emotional balance. Who caught the wrath? A hot dog vendor who happened not to have his product ready. I verbally let all of my frustration out on that poor man. And I’m ashamed of that moment. Yet, it was a turning point.
In my shame, I sought to honestly address what frustrated me and to find ways to manage and change. Self-awareness plus practical solutions have brought me more emotional balance ever since. How? I worked hard to become patient, adjust my expectations, and respond reasonably when angry. In the process, I learned these 4 healthy ways to manage frustration.
1. Exercise Regularly
How a man expresses frustration can get out of hand if he doesn’t have proper outlets of release. Many men struggle to talk it out. If you are like me, you want to break something when you’re frustrated. But at times like those, if we channel our energy into exercise, we find ourselves in a win-win situation. The built-up frustration is released constructively and our general health improves.
2. Change Your Expectations
It has been said that “expectation is the mother of all frustration.” We need to manage our expectations so they are grounded in reality. This applies to our marriages, our children, our careers, and our happiness. For instance, if you’re driving on a multiple-lane road, you know drivers will drive too slowly in the fast lane. We need to expect it. When we expect that others aren’t always going to do what we would do, or when we expect the inevitable, we’re less likely to fly off the handle when it happens.
3. Read Scripture
When I read scripture, I am often convicted of personal offenses of which I previously had been unaware. This is especially true for how I would react while frustrated. Reading a chapter of Proverbs every day for many years has completely changed my reactions. The best way to deal with frustration is to cut off its root source. Reading Scripture has helped me identify the unhealthy attitudes that I needed to change.
4. Dedicate Time to LeisureBalance in life is imperative, and a balanced man can work through frustration successfully.
I have a friend who always used to seem frustrated and angry. A few years ago, he saw some pictures of mine from a mountain hike and it reminded him of the years he spent in camp as a child. He cherished those memories and my pictures awakened something inside him. The past two summers, inspired by what he thought of when he saw my pictures, he has intentionally spent time doing some of what makes him happy. We all have responsibilities, many of which we don’t enjoy. However, it’s important to respect and explore our passions outside them. Balance in life is imperative, and a balanced man can work through frustration successfully.
Sound off: What are some techniques you use to ease your frustration?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What makes you feel frustrated?”