Coping with Frustration Free Trial

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In the modern world, frustration can be triggered by many things including: technology failures, long lines, irritating bosses, credit card debt, ungrateful kids, and traffic jams. If you do not deal with the frustration immediately, it gets repressed to your long-term memory. Here it accumulates, and over time sinks into your unconscious where you cannot address it. Each of us has a maximum threshold for frustration – the point where the pool gets so high, some of the negative energy must be released. For example, you may have a bad day at work but are unable to vent because your boss is present. When you get home, a small problem can cause you to explode. This is because your frustration pool is over threshold, and even a small conflict can trigger major venting.

Over time, you learn a variety of techniques to vent your frustration. Some of these will be positive like physical exercise, listening to music, or journaling. These behaviors can vent frustration with no negative consequences. However, you have also learned some negative coping techniques like yelling and screaming, withdrawing into a bad mood, or over-eating. By definition these behaviors are anti-social and/or self-destructive. As a result, while they can release some repressed frustration, they eventually bring punishment from your family and friends. This ultimately returns more negative energy to your pool creating cycles of frustration.

Freud also discovered that negative coping techniques often become automated and then are performed without awareness – even when you are not frustrated. Notice that you often release your frustration on those closest to you – who might have nothing to do with causing it. This is because they are often around when you go over threshold and start venting. In this way you can systematically undermine your most valuable relationships and not even know you're doing it.

The long-run effects of frustration depend on the coping techniques you use. If they are negative, you will experience continuing stress and frustration – much of it self-induced. However, if you develop positive coping techniques, you can use reasoning and creative problem solving to avoid or minimize the consequences of repressed negative energy.

Are your coping techniques positive? To find out, answer the questions below.

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