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  • Writer's pictureMartin Stepek

How to Cope when you feel Frustrated and Hopeless

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Some emotional reactions or moods are easier to manage than others. This will vary from person to person. One person might find anger virtually impossible to control but frustration easy, whilst for another person it’s the other way round. So what I am about to explore with you has to be quite general in nature.

Feeling hopeless or deeply frustrated about life or some aspect of it, is one of the hardest emotions to change. It’s a deep feeling, heavy, and it seems to envelope you. That’s what makes it hard to gently dislodge.

With a normal, everyday feeling like being irritated or feeling a bit stressed, with practice it’s quite easy to gently take your attention elsewhere, and the negative mood will fade away, usually quite quickly. But with these deeper, all-encompassing states of mind, this method often doesn’t work.

This is when it’s time to go for a bigger shift.

Do something different if you are able to. Best of all, regardless of weather, is to go outside and do a mindful walk. This means walking slowly, leisurely, and deliberately trying not to think. Just notice what you are seeing, what you are hearing, what the wind or the air feels on your face, hands, any where else, and what each step feels like as it touches the surface of the ground. Let all of these experiences just slowly, subtly soak into you and become a part of your life as a whole. And let yourself notice the fresh clear air flow into your lungs and wipe away the troubles on your mind.

An alternative that many people unconsciously do when feeling hopeless or deeply frustrated at something is to do housework or gardening, or wash the car, or do a repair; basically anything that makes you have to focus on something else. This is excellent mindfulness practice.

What’s happening in these examples is this: our negative feelings of hopelessness or frustration are imaginary views of life created entirely by your own mind, with little or no justification in the real world of who you are and what you do in life. So when we get a harmful or totally inaccurate set of messages from our own mind we have to take that mind somewhere else; somewhere neutral or pleasant; somewhere where we can focus on something for a period of time.

Only two things are required of us to get rid of these awful, draining emotions. First we must take our minds off the subject by taking it elsewhere as descried above.

Then we must keep our minds off that subject for as long a time as it takes to let the negativity subside.

So it’s just a question of changing attention, and sticking with it for long enough. Attention and time, that’s all.

This is hard to get going but gets easier and more effective with practice.

Keep well everyone.

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