Managing Frustration!

Photo by Yan Krukov

                                                                            ((Photo by Yan Krukov)

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 16, Number 7

Who can identify with the above picture? I think we all can. It seems that life today is full of frustration. From the countless emails to bothersome robocalls, we are bombarded with useless and unnecessary solicitations or messages. Being placed on hold when calling customer service and having to follow up with two or three calls or emails seems to be the norm now. Has this been made worse by the pandemic? Probably. In addition, watching the news with polarized points of view, disinformation, things that are happening that shouldn’t be happening, and an inability to do anything about it only makes us feel powerless and frustrated. The feeling of frustration has become frequent and magnified in today’s life.

This month’s E-Letter provides information on understanding the feelings of frustration and offers some strategies on how to manage it in a world overloaded with unnecessary and useless information.

KimmelPsychology has provided a monthly E-Letter for over 16 years, that is educational, informative, and helpful. Topics change every month but the format remains the same; brief information about the topic as well as suggestions for improvement. The topic of interest can be downloaded and used as a handout or a “tip sheet”.

You are invited to email your thoughts to Dr. Kimmel at [email protected].
Make sure to read the latest blog addition near the end of this E-Letter.


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                               (Photo by Nathan Cowley)

All of us have experienced many occasions of frustration, especially today. It seems like life has become more demanding and complicated possibly due to the pandemic. Life was certainly more demanding before but now with all the confusing information, procedures we need to do, and increased stress, feeling frustrated has become a way of life. But what is frustration?

Frustration basically is a feeling of irritability or anger when things do not go the way we expect them to go. It can be internally based such as not achieving what we want or what we expect such as trying several different passwords to log into a computer and being unsuccessful. Frustration can also be external such as being stuck in a traffic jam while late for an appointment or having to wait in line to get something you want. In today’s world, it seems like tempers are short and acting-out behaviors are more common whether it be road rage, yelling at others, or fighting.

There is a high correlation between frustration and stress where one tends to feed the other. Prolonged frustration leads to increased stress which can cause anxiety, depression, pessimism, hopelessness, headaches, nightmares, and overall fatigue. Stress can affect your thinking so that you doubt yourself and think you do not have the ability to overcome challenges which leads to frustration. If not dealt with, both can lead to burnout.

We tend to live in an impatient society where we expect to get almost immediate gratification. One of the greatest sources of frustration is the feeling of wasting time as we expect what we want when we want it. We have become used to this and when it does not happen, too often we become angry. How many of us have cursed at our computers, thrown things, or become passive-aggressive when we have had to wait or could not do what we wanted. Frustrations can accumulate and if they happen one after another, they can lead a person to aggressively act out.

Our lives are full of frustration. The bad news is that in the complex, imperfect world we live in, we will be frustrated. The good news is that we can develop skills and strategies to minimize it and prevent self-destructive behaviors.

Some of these strategies include not taking frustration personally. The computer is not logging on because it has a grudge against you. Being behind a slow driver in the passing lane is not because they want to prevent you from driving faster. It is not personal; frustration happens to everyone.

Another strategy is to expect frustration and realize that it now a way of life. We are exposed to so many frustrating situations through politics, social media, and the news, that it is better to accept it in whatever you are doing. You may not be able change these situations, but you can change how you react to them. You do not have to give them power over you.

Relaxing yourself and keeping calm as much as possible is another strategy. Practice deep breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness exercises to lower your level of tension and stress. You can download mindfulness exercises from many sites on the internet. Practice yoga, read, and socialize with friends to relax. Avoid addictive behaviors including overeating, gambling, drinking, using drugs, or overworking as they can cause additional problems.

Being able to deal successfully with frustration is a basic life skill. If you have difficulty, consider professional help. Control it before it controls you.

We offer the following information on: Managing Frustration!


“You can’t always get what you want, You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes,                                                                well,
you might find, You get what you need”…Rolling Stones


  • Frustration is a common emotional response when things don’t go the way we want
  • The more important what we want is and cannot achieve, the greater the frustration
  • Frustration manifests through feelings of anger or irritability and can lead to aggressive behavior, depression, loss of confidence, nightmares, and relationship problems
  • Frustration often masks feelings of guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, and sadness
  • It is directly correlated with stress and is experienced by everyone at some time
  • The ability to manage frustration links directly to happiness and enjoyment
  • Frustration can be internal such as not achieving what we want, or external such as being in a traffic jam or having to wait in line
  • Feelings of frustration are promoted by the news media in order to capture and maintain viewers and it often leads to a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness
  • Frustration can also be positive when it motivates a person to achieve or change
  • One of the greatest sources of frustration is the feeling of wasting time such as being stuck in traffic, waiting in line, being put on hold, etc.
  • Another great source of frustration is a sense of powerless when you think something needs to change and you can’t do anything about it
  • Frustrated behavior can be seen in road rage, protests, intense arguments, health issues
  • Frustration can often lead to escapist, addictive behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, overeating and weight gain, gambling, videogame playing
  • Since life is full of frustration, one can never truly eliminate it, but skills and strategies can be developed to minimize it and avoid engaging in self-destructive behaviors


  • Do not take frustration personally and accept that it happens to everyone
  • Realize that you may not be able to change the frustrating situation, but you can change how you react to it
  • Practice deep breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness exercises to keep calm
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • Talk out loud to yourself about your thoughts and feelings
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings and review them
  • Set boundaries and lower your expectations for the situation
  • Compromise on your goals or break them down into smaller or partial goals
  • Accept that there are things you cannot do or change
  • Change your perspective and recognize that what you thought was so important may not actually be that important
  • Consider getting professional help if your level of frustration does not decrease, you engage in aggressive behaviors when frustrated, or your frustration affects your relationships and other areas of your life


Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at [email protected]

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067

Till August…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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Copyright © 2021 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.