Clear Focus: How to Channel Frustration into Positive Results

We’ve all been there: feeling aggravated over a situation, even when we don’t want to. Sometimes that sense of frustration even creeps up out of nowhere and leaves us expressing negative thoughts about ourselves and others. Your teen, in particular, may not know how to handle their frustration, but you can lend some guidance by offering the following suggestions on how they can channel those feelings into a positive form of action.

Understand the Effects of Frustration

Sure, we might not enjoy how we feel when we’re frustrated, but otherwise is it really a big deal? Actually, lingering frustration can have negative effects both on our overall happiness and in our relationships. For example, built-up frustration can lead to resentment, which can create serious problems in a relationship; one person may lash out at the other person, resulting in hurt feelings and weakened trust. Also, continued frustration can prevent a person from enjoying positive moments in life, by dwelling on minor negative things in each situation they encounter.

Find a Sense of Calm

calm teen lying down

Image Credit: Ryan McGuire

Frustration is an active emotion. It can get us to clench our fists or our hearts to race. It can make us say things we don’t mean or act in ways we wouldn’t ordinarily behave. A positive way that your teen can redirect their frustration is by finding a sense of calm. For example, they can try taking some long, deep breaths or visualizing a safe space. They can also take time to do yoga to help them manage their negative emotions and improve their overall mood.

Address Conflict

While we all get upset with ourselves sometimes, one of the biggest sources of frustration is other people. As previously mentioned, these feelings can fester and grow to the point where they damage relationships with friends and family members.

Your teen can take a positive approach instead and express their thoughts and feelings rather than bottle them up. Encourage them to work through conflict, rather than stifle it, by discussing ways to move toward a resolution. For example, if your teen is unhappy with their friend for never showing up on time for movies and other activities, you can brainstorm together what they can say to their friend to address this issue. This approach will not only help to alleviate their frustration, but will likely strengthen their relationship too.

Focus on the Future

teen sitting on a pier

Image Credit: Matthias Zomer

Most frustrations tend to develop over time from past situations. Perhaps someone disrespected your teen or they felt disappointed about a personal failure. Unfortunately, we can’t change the past, no matter how hard we try.

Instead, a positive step your teen can take is by redirecting their focus to the future. You can suggest that a few questions they can consider to avoid further instances of frustrations: How can you act differently in a similar situation? What changes can you make? How can you set goals to produce a different outcome in the future? Not only will this distract your teen from their frustration, but it just might bring a sense of hope and positive action as they move froward.

When it comes down to it, frustration just simply isn’t worth the time and energy. By suggesting these ways to help address frustration to your teen, you can help them take a more productive and satisfying approach to their problems.

Feature Image: Jorigė Kuzmaitė