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When Everything’s The Worst: Dealing with Frustration

Let’s face it: we all have bad days. From the moment you wake up you can tell it’s not going to be your day – you slept through your alarm, you’re tired, you have to rush to class, and when you get there you realize that you forgot your notes.

Now you’re tired, hungry, and feel like a slob so naturally you’re more on edge than usual. Everything and everyone pisses you off.  

You think things will get better, and then you get a mark back and discover you didn’t do so well on your midterm.  By the end of the day, you’re convinced that people are stupid and you’re never leaving your room again.  

Instead of letting your frustration control your day, try using these 5 tips before deciding to shut out the rest of the world.

1.      Understand what triggered your frustration. By figuring out what caused your frustration in the first place, you can avoid feeling frustrated in the future. Are you frustrated because you’re tired? Then make sure you get sufficient sleep from now on. Are you frustrated because your group members aren’t pulling their weight in a group project? Then call a group meeting to remind them of deadlines and requirements, talk with the prof, and make a mental note to choose different group members in the future.

2.      Accept and let go. Rather than harbouring negative thoughts, accept the fact that things don’t always go as planned. Once you’ve accepted this, move on with your day rather than dwelling on bad experiences or stupid mistakes. You can’t change what happened but you can view it as a valuable learning experience.

3.      Relaxation and Exercise. Breathing deeply and yoga can help you unwind and feel calmer. A power workout session is also beneficial by helping you release tension and pent-up anger. It’s also important to remember to take a breather before responding to someone when you’re frustrated so that you don’t misdirect your frustration.

4.      Name one thing that is going right. By thinking of even one thing that is going well, no matter how minor, it can help slow down your train of negative thoughts and steer you in a more positive direction.  

5.      Think ahead. Try to look back on your situation as if it were a week, month, or year from now and ask yourself if this one bad day is really going to seem as problematic in the future. Putting your frustration into a larger context will help make it more manageable.

What are some of the ways you deal with frustrating days? Let me know in the comments below.






Rebecca is a fourth year student at the University of Ottawa studying Biomedical Science with a minor in business. 
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