The Happiness Connection  

Moving from frustration to calm

Dealing with frustration

I spent more time than I care to think about on the phone with CRA last week.

I didn’t expect it to be easy and it wasn’t. I found myself with a blue fog circling my head from the language that was exploding in my brain.

While I was on hold for the second time, I tried to do something productive by going through my emails. The first one that burst onto my screen included an Aldous Huxley quote.

“Experience is not what happens to you – it’s how you interpret what happens to you.”

Let me be honest, although I totally agree with these words, I wasn’t in the mood to receive them with an open heart. Even happiness mavens have their moments, and that’s OK.

I’m sharing this incident because what I experienced is common. Everyone encounters challenges, although sometimes that’s an easy thing to forget. People are far more eager to share the positive things that happen than the negative ones.

If you ever feel that you’re the only one whose life is frustrating, disappointing or depressing, rest assured that isn’t the case. No one has a life that’s devoid of challenges.

Don’t be fooled by the fact people are slow to share the horrendous parts of life but quick to post all the things they’re grateful for. Practicing happiness doesn’t mean you should ignore your negative emotions. Everyone has experiences of vexation, annoyance and heartache. It won’t serve you to pretend you don’t. Burying negative emotions isn’t healthy.

Huxley was right. You get to interpret what happens to you. You can choose to bath any situation in darkness and gloom or shine a little light on it. It’s another way to say, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

And it does, but don’t think you have to start hunting for it the minute you sense yourself beginning to melt down. Sometimes it’s important to feel all the emotions that are welling up. Allow yourself a few tears if that feels right.

The key to success is not to pretend that everything is fine, but to avoid sinking into a place of limitless wallowing. Pulling yourself out of self-pity is often the challenge. But that’s the step that allows you to see any situation from a more positive position.

You have to be in a clearer, less emotional headspace if you want to move forward.

1. Set yourself a time limit for venting, crying, or ranting.

2. Indulge in some self-care. Watching a feel-good movie, getting outside for a walk, or having a long soak in the tub are all good options.

3. Do something that will move you towards resolving your challenge.

In my experience, the last step is often the most difficult. Challenges can leave you feeling helpless. Action is the best way to step back into empowerment.

It felt like I’d exhausted everything I could do on my own, so I reached out for help. This is something I’m learning to do more as I get older. For most of my life, I’ve considered this to be my last option. I’d hunt for any alternative before resorting to it. It was as if asking for help was a sign of weakness.

There are many reasons why individuals are reluctant to ask for help. They include:

• Not wanting to be a burden.

• Thinking that getting help means you’re losing control of a situation.

• Believing you aren’t worthy of assistance.

• Shame.

• Not wanting to admit you can’t figure it out on your own.

As with anything, the more you get used to doing something the easier it becomes. If you find yourself hesitant to ask for help, start by making small requests. On the flip side, make sure you’re open to helping others whenever you’re asked for help. As with so many things, the flow goes in both directions.

Did I resolve my frustrating situation? I’m not sure.

The one thing I know is that after reaching out for professional help, my mood lifted. In my world, that’s a win.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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