How do we control our frustration??

What exactly is frustration?

It’s how we react to situations that make us angry, sad or disappointed. It’s OUR emotional response and so surely we should be able to control it?

We all experience frustration in one shape or form – often! I may even go as far as saying that it’s an emotion we most probably feel on a daily basis. Work, relationships, getting stuck in traffic or being delayed on the tube, when something doesn’t live up to your expectation, trying to master a new skill, forgetting to do something, having to rely on other people, the weather, bad time management…there are many elements of everyday life that can provoke this feeling of disgruntlement if not managed well enough.

There are many ways to deal with frustration and many reasons for it to surface in our thoughts.

For us, when we were out in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, I would say that frustration was an emotion we felt on more than a few occasions!

We had good reason. Our expedition was filled with challenges. We were sleep deprived, hot, continuously damp and uncomfortable. There were days where we rowed hard against current and wind but travelled negative miles or in the wrong direction. There were days where we battled to keep the 1-tonne Doris facing the right way and when she kept swinging round the waves would crash continuously across her deck. There were moments where the pain or discomfort of our salt sores and pressure wounds were so distracting that we needed to wait for 10 minutes of a rowing shift before our backsides or hands became numb and we could push through the 2 hours. Our ipods broke, we lost our favourite bikini top, flannels or tupperware overboard or we just simply got bored of eating the same food over and over again!
It was understandable that we felt discouraged.

How did we control those feelings of being annoyed when we couldn’t achieve what we wanted? How did we rise above the frustration and how did we deal with it?

I’d like to share three of the techniques that seemed to work.

  1. Control the controllable

One of the most important questions to ask in any situation is ‘can you control it?’ We can only control the controllable, so if something is truly outside your control, then surely you are wasting valuable time and energy on something that you will never be able to change. It’s amazing how often we forget this simple fact.

So, on Doris, we would remind each other that we could only control the controllable when we saw someone get frustrated.

  1. YOU control your thoughts and how you react to situations / You are in charge of how you feel so choose a different emotion!

Understanding that we are all in charge of how we react to situations and how we choose to behave to them is in our control, makes you a lot more self-aware. Feeling frustrated is not a good, uplifting or positive feeling, so ideally we want to choose not to think in a way that will lead us to the emotion of frustration.

During the 9 months of the expedition, when I started to let my thoughts run away with themselves, I would bring myself back to the moment and find something different to concentrate my energies on. Watching the ever-changing movement and colours of the ocean or the shifting shapes of the clouds in the sky, telling each other life stories or listening to music were all great ways to transform our thoughts and shift our mindset to a more positive one.

Beauty

  1. Breathe

It is always beneficial to stop, check in with yourself and breathe!

This is an invaluable tool that can be used in almost every situation you find yourself in when you feel as if your emotions or sensations are taking over.
Just breathe slowly and deeply – in for 5 and out for 5.

It has been said that it is better to view frustration as ‘delayed success’ not as ‘failure’ and then at least you know that you can overcome it, while others say that frustration is an essential part of success…so who really knows!??

All I know that is that through all the peaks and troughs of life out on the ocean, the challenges and the frustrations, the magical moments and beauty, we did our best, as a team, to fully embrace all the emotions that came our way and learn from every situation. We must have done something right as we were not only successful, but we achieved what we set out to do… in style.
We did it with honesty, humility, SPIRIT and laughter!!

Now…let’s see if we can continue dealing with life’s challenges in the same way on dry land!!! x

Laughter

Share:     

3 Comments

  1. JG says:

    Practising frustration control is a sign of maturity and emancipation. It is a development of tolerance and responsibilty for others..

    People who cannot control their frustration and react badly to it have not developed that all-important sense of self knowledge, self discipline and social duty.

    These are essential ingredients for people to live in social harmony.

    The Crew on Doris are a prime example of how successful this is when worked at.

    Lets face it – if the whole world lived in such harmony and develops the same ingredients there woiuld be an end to conflict.

    But, controversially, that would lead to another set of problems such as supporting a population explosion

  2. JG says:

    Sad to learn of the loss of the yachtswoman Sarah Young drowned in the Pacific Ocean. One small deviation from the rules and disaster struck. Such a waste.

  3. Wow Natalia there’s some really good tips here.

    Im going to apply these to my day to day life and see how these go, thanks so much for sharing this 🙂

Leave A Reply