REAL TALK: Frustration (Handling, Diffusing, and Managing Frustration)

Ciao lovelies, it’s time for another REAL TALK post, this one is very inspired by recent events in my life. Frustration is a roadblock that we all encounter from time to time. It’s the way that we handle frustration that defines how we cope with situations like it in the future. But when you’re in the moment, feeling that white-hot feeling of blinding anger, it’s hard to see clearly. If you’re not able to deal with the frustration, it can lead to inward anger, and self-hate, and can fester into much bigger problems.

Sources of Frustration

Frustration can come from many sources. Typically, frustration comes from built up anger regarding a situation that we perceive as:

  • Out of our control
  • Unchangeable 
  • Futile
  • Annoying
  • Caused by the same repeating issue

And other situations that lead us to anger. In daily life, frustration is pretty common, we see it in everything from road-rage to impatience. The little annoyances in our lives can build up and cause frustration, and we don’t always let it out in healthy mannerisms

Personally, my most-common cause of frustration is myself! A lot of the most frustrating situations I can think of in my life are rooted in feelings of inadequacy, or feeling like I haven’t met my own expectations. When I feel like my sense of self worth is threatened by being unable to understand something, or unable to master a skill, it stings. My way of facing these frustrations isn’t always helpful, either.

Handling Frustration

Full transparency, I often internalize this frustration, and instead of using that in a healthy way (i.e. motivation to do better, or inspiration to try something different), I end up morphing that frustration into anger at myself. This warps my perception of myself and only causes more issues. 

I can recognize the logical failings of this easily, but in the moment, it’s far easier to give in to the anger, to feel hopeless, defeatist, self-hating, all of that. Instead of reassessing the situation or taking a moment to breathe, the downward spiral begins in my mind. This doesn’t happen every time, but it happens enough for me to have recognized the pattern behind it. 

It’s not hard for me to admit that adjusting the way I handle these situations is really difficult. Like anything within the realm of self-improvement, it’s not a simple overnight fix. It’s not an instant mental switch, it’s a struggle between me, myself, and I. But that’s honestly just one of the hard-to-swallow truths of working on myself day in and out. 

Frustration VS Self-Improvement

Recognizing toxic or problematic behaviors in yourself is a HUGE part of self-improvement, and this includes how you treat yourself. I would never speak to my loved ones the way I speak to myself sometimes. The idea of treating anyone I love with the malice I use towards myself makes me feel gross, and I could never consciously do that. So why is it different when it’s me?

This is actually really common thinking, though. One of the biggest factors in helping me realize that my self-image and treatment of myself was wrong, was my best friend, Nightsong. They told me something one day that really changed the way I thought, and helped me begin the journey to change.

“Would you judge your best friend with the same unfair harshness you judge yourself?”

Talk about an immediate “oh dang” moment. Nightsong’s statement really resonated with me. I’ve spent a lot of my life desperately trying to understand: how social situations worked, how to be a better person, how to make others happy, how to be a good friend, how to be a good person… And this whole time, I’ve been pouring out all that kindness to others and treating myself like a pariah. What concerns me most about that, is how the way I treat myself shows me that I am capable of being so hurtful and unkind. Even though it's “just” towards myself, why does that excuse it? 

After thinking for a while, it becomes clear to me that much of my frustrations come from my skewed self-image. Frustrated about not understanding something or not getting something right? It’s less about not being able to comprehend, it’s more so about how I feel inadequate and I judge myself for not meeting my own expectations. 

Having expectations for yourself isn’t inherently a bad thing. But holding yourself to strict expectations and not allowing yourself room for failure, and thereby, growth, is toxic and harmful. 

With all of that in mind, I would now like to talk about ways to diffuse frustration in order to approach situations with a clear and flexible outlook.

Diffusing Frustration

As I said earlier, it’s really difficult to pull yourself back in frustrating moments. Beyond the mental fog caused by anger, we must also contend with physical effects of anger, like:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling hot or flushed
  • Flight or fight response activation
  • Muscle tenseness
  • Gritting teeth
  • Clenching jaw or fists
  • Feeling dizzy or clouded judgment

And these physical effects make it even more difficult to approach situations with rational thinking. It’s truly a challenge. 

Some of the techniques I have been trying out to diffuse these moments are:

  • Physically distancing myself from the issue to calm down. This isn’t possible for every situation, but sometimes getting up from my computer, or putting down the problem and taking time physically away from it, can provide a clearer perspective. It allows me time to calm the physical symptoms of frustration and stress, and time to perceive the situation in a different perspective.
  • Changing my focus for a while. If I can’t physically get away from a frustrating situation, it’s helpful to mentally remove myself from it, and divert my focus to a different problem or situation for a while. This helps me by using some of the angry energy to solve other issues, or do some other tasks. Cleaning or organizing helps with this, as does working on an easier task for a while.
  • Asking for help. Pride is a heck of a thing, and overcoming pride is highly important to solving difficult and frustrating situations. Sometimes it’s not something you should be tackling alone, and you need to reach out for help. Understanding that you cannot possibly be the best at everything is crucial to your success. At times, solving your problems will come down to who can help you, not how you can struggle alone.

Before I end this post, I want to briefly explain one thing. Frustration itself is not unhealthy, and it can pop up in many situations. It often shows where we need to change our mindsets or get external advice, and shows us where we can think outside of our box about things. Frustration is a healthy part of growth. It’s how we handle it that affects us. 

With that in mind, please comment about how you handle frustration! There are infinite solutions to every issue, and I’d love to know how you approach situations like these. 

Thank you for reading this REAL TALK post! I’ll be honest, writing this was so helpful to me. I needed a new perspective, and I needed a space to logically walk through the feelings. I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of needing to just talk something out. At least, some of you! 

Oh, and before I forget, no, there’s no monthly posting schedule type thing yet, I only realized now that I started yet another month with a REAL TALK. Not on purpose, though!

Alright, all of that being said….

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this post can help someone. If I can brighten or help just one person, that is always more than enough for me. 

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And now with all that self-promo stuff out of the way, I can get into the important part of the signoff-

STAY AWESOME!! Don’t forget to stay awesome, there is only one of you, and you can make your life into anything you dream of. And while you’re out there doing awesome things, don’t forget to love yourself, support yourself, and treat yourself with kindness!

See you in my next post, video, or whatever comes next!


  1. This was amazing!! It's such a real hardship to face, hearing you speak about it in a logical way, as well as a truthful way is really helpful as it's something so easy to take over. Very amazing advice, will definitely help me the next time I feel it take over :) it happens and it so hard to get away from the physical feelings, but telling myself I can do it (and hearing other experiences like yours) give me confidence!:D

    1. I'm so glad i could help by sharing my experiences! :) this was one of those posts that i end up writing in the moment due to current circumstances, as like a way to talk out how i feel, so i'm really glad that it could help someone else going through similar things!!! :))


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