Coping with Anger and Frustration

Coping With Anger and Frustration

By Diane LaChapelle Ph.D., LPsyc

Frustration is a normal emotional response when you have trouble reaching your goals. Pain makes it harder to achieve goals like working, playing sports, or being a the kind of parent, spouse, or friend you would like to be. In these cases, it is natural that you would feel frustrated. If you follow the strategies outlined below, you should be able to get a handle on your frustration and to use it as an opportunity to grow and make changes.

However, frustration can grow into anger if you blame yourself or others for the difficulties you are having in reaching your goals.

Anger can be directed outwards or inwards. When anger is directed outwards, the people around you feel the force of that anger. This can harm your relationships, leading to problems at home or work. When anger is directed inwards, you feel the force of that anger. This can contribute to depression. Also, researchers have shown that anger can heighten sensitivity to pain. Anger can be a very big roadblock when it comes to managing your pain and improving your life. So, it is important to recognize your anger. Then you can take action to reduce or eliminate it.

Strategies to reduce your frustration and anger
The following pages in this section can give you strategies for reducing your frustration and anger:

  • Relaxation Techniques. Make sure to practice these daily.
  • 5 Ps of Pain Management. This page gives five easy tips for managing your pain.
  • Cognitive Restructuring. Negative thinking can often make pain worse. This page will show you how to challenge your negative thinking.
  • Pleasurable Activities. This page talks about the importance of doing things you enjoy as this can help distract you from the pain, keep you active, and improve your mood.

Some words of caution
For some people, self-help resources may be all they need to help manage anger and frustration. But if your anger is creating problems in your relationships or if you are worried about your ability to control your anger, see a psychologist or your family physician for help. If you are worried that your anger is about to explode, talk to your family physician or a psychologist immediately – professional assistance is a must.