Frustration is an emotion that everyone experiences, as it’s a natural response to stressful situations. For instance, you might experience short-term frustration while waiting in long queues or getting stuck in traffic for hours. However, you can also experience long-term frustration due to stressors like your work environment. Indeed, conflicts can arise at your workplace and they can be overwhelming. For example, you might feel frustrated due to the behaviour and actions of your bosses or colleagues. Or you may be stressed from dealing with heavy workloads and tight deadlines.
While feelings of frustration usually dissipate in short-term circumstances, it doesn’t quite work the same way in long-term ones. If you ignore frequent work frustrations, destructive emotions like anger and fear are likely to build up and worsen overtime. Chronic frustration can lead to aggressive behaviour and irritability, which may disrupt your productivity and place more strain on your work relationships. It can also cause or exacerbate mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. You may even experience nightmares or have trouble sleeping due to pent-up stress.
To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended that you take a more proactive approach in dealing with frustration. This involves practising emotional self-control, developing self-awareness to acknowledge negative feelings, and turning to healthy coping mechanisms to alleviate stress. To better help you accomplish these steps, below is a simple yet effective guide on how to deal with frustration in the workplace:
Perform Mindfulness Activities
Frustration is a strong emotion—the anger, stress, and anxiety that come with it can prevent you from thinking clearly and making reasonable decisions. For instance, if you’re upset with a co-worker, you need to take the time to cool down so you can better deal with your negative feelings. If you immediately act out on your frustration, you may end up saying or doing something hurtful in the process.
This is why it’s necessary to develop emotional self-control. One of the best ways to do this is by regularly performing mindfulness activities. These activities clear your mind and calm you, allowing you to better manage your emotions. For instance, you can do some meditation, yoga, or deep breathing after a stressful day at work. Research shows that taking slow and deep breaths several times daily can greatly decrease stress levels.
If you’re religious, performing your prayers can also be a great mindfulness activity. It clears your mind by encouraging you to let go of worldly troubles and seek comfort from a higher power. With accessible digital software like the Muslim Pro app, you can easily follow prayer reminders on your phone or desktop. This way, you’ll always be reminded of opportunities to practise mindfulness, even during busy work days. Some applications even come with a digital Quran that you can refer to during prayers for a fully-immersive and convenient experience.
Make Some Time for Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is essential in overcoming frustration, as it cultivates self-awareness. It involves identifying work stressors and figuring out why they triggered certain negative emotions. After all, it’s difficult to solve a problem if you’re not aware of its root causes. While this seems quite simple, many people often forget to self-reflect, causing them to get stuck in a stress-frustration-conflict cycle.
Journalling can be a great form of self-reflection. A journal is a space that’s free of judgement, so you can write down all your thoughts and feelings about frustrating work experiences. It’s a healthy form of catharsis and a good way to learn about specific situations or behaviours that upset you. In doing so, you can come up with ways to avoid these circumstances or better manage them in the future.
For instance, while writing in your journal, you might realise that you snapped at a colleague because they made some very hurtful comments about your work when you were having a stressful day. When you see them again, you can properly apologise, explain why you acted the way you did, and ask them to give more constructive feedback the next time around.
If someone at work is causing you to feel frustrated, take a step back to see where they’re coming from. Ask yourself what this person might be thinking or feeling given their position in the situation. It’s good to practise empathy during stressful circumstances, as it helps you view things from a different perspective. This will encourage you to make fair and level-headed decisions when interacting with those around you, rather than vilifying them and lingering on negative emotions. By understanding the needs and motivations of your colleagues, you can find a way to compromise and help one another. This will break the stress-frustration-conflict cycle and cultivate a better work environment in the long run.
Allow yourself to feel frustrated when you do, but remember not to let it get the best of you. To effectively reduce your negative emotions, you’ll need to acknowledge them, communicate them in healthier ways, and adapt a more empathetic mindset. By following the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to face all kinds of stressful workplace situations without sacrificing your mental health or professional relationships.