Steverino: Flipping Frustration On Its Head

Hello hello my smart compadre...

A few fun facts from the APA (American Psychological Association):

  • 77% of people experience stress on a regular basis.
  • 48% lose sleep every night due to work-related stress.
  • 53% fight with their family and coworkers on a regular basis because of work-related stress.

Under extreme stress, you probably go on a fault-finding mission to place blame...



How can I make sure they suffer too?

Under extreme stress, your fight-or-flight response kicks in sending adrenaline through your body. 

Your blood pressure spikes and your mind goes into overdrive.

The slightest little frustration that comes your way gets blown out of proportion.

Don't worry. You're not alone. A lot of great people can go from agreeable to agro in 3.7 seconds flat.

But, what if you could learn how to see your frustration as a gift in disguise?

How you choose to respond to frustration and stress always reveal what you care the most about.

You might want to reread that last line.

You see amigo, it's not until you're challenged externally that you find out what you're made of internally.

Best-selling author and psychologist, Martin Seligman, believes people handle stress through either learned helplessness or learned optimism.

Learned helplessness is the pessimistic belief within some of us that nothing will ever change, even if our personal circumstances improve. We are likely to blame ourselves and believe the frustration and stress will impact every area of our lives.


Learned optimism is the hopeful belief within some of us that change is inevitable, and any stress and frustration we experience at work (and home) can actually improve our lives. Through learned optimism we are more likely to work through the stressful event, change our thinking and make the most of the opportunity. 

Emerson believed stressful situations had a scientific value, that frustrations were 'special occasions a good learner should not miss.'

De Gaulle saw the benefit of 'character' development in facing difficult and frustrating circumstances. It's through them that we find out where our potential lies.

Mother Teresa, believed stressful situations 'to be a path to humility.' And, that frustration birthed an inner awareness of our capacity for kindness and generosity.

You're probably not a philosopher, politician or saint.

But, you are brilliant in your own right...

So here are a handful of ways to flip stress on its head:

  1. Look for the deeper lesson in the situation. Focus on what is happening inside of you and what it reveals about your values and expectations. See it as an opportunity to grow.
  2. Own your part of the situation. Let go of the need to blame others. If you cannot control the situation, you can definitely influence it in a positive way.
  3. Step back and look at the situation. Time and space are your friends. Gaining perspective on the frustrating event or person provides the best opportunity to respond with clarity and compassion. 
  4. Be assertive in managing the situation. Rather than trying to avoid or control frustration be open to work through it in a positive manner. Let it unfold and then actively move towards a positive outcome. 

The next time you feel like you're about to explode and open a can of whoop-ass on the people around you, take a look inside instead.

Here's to not letting frustration and stress ruin your day...

Steve Knox

PS. If you'd like to learn other great ways to improve yourself, then you should think about working 1-1 with me or bringing me in to work with your team. 

All that great info can be found over yonder at:

www dot steve knox dot us