5 Ways to Deal with Frustration when You Want to Lose your Mind

5 Ways to Deal with Frustration when You Want to Lose your Mind

Because I sure know about losing my mind. 🙂

And most likely, you do too. At least sometimes!

Did I mention lately that I have 13 Labrador puppies? I still can’t believe it. Thirteen puppies. And they’re 6 weeks old now. So, we are all pooped around here, in more ways than one!

And like you, my life was fairly nuts before. I run an editorial business, and write books. Not much to do around here on a calm day!

A couple of weeks ago, I got caught up in the frenzy. You know how that is, right? Chasing the old tail around in circles trying to get 54 things done in one day.

It’s not that I wanted to lose my mind. But I sure came close to doing so.

It’s not that I wanted to lose my mind. But I sure came close to doing so.

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And when that happens, I’m pretty much frustrated with, well, everything.

So I had to give myself a time out and employ pretty much all the tools I know about how to deal with frustration. The basic ones, and the not-so-basic. But none of them are difficult.

1. Of course, the first thing I’d quit doing when there weren’t enough hours in the day was meditation. Of course it was! Isn’t it funny how we do that? We don’t have time to carve out 15 minutes for ourselves and do the one thing, the true one thing, which lends calm to everything else.

And funny how life runs straight off the rails when we quit doing that!

So, that was first on the docket.

2. Which leads to the second tool—changing that negative self-talk. Because I don’t know about you, but I can sure beat myself up when in that mode. “You’ll never get this all done.” “You don’t have the exact right home for every puppy.” Etc., etc.

And we all know how productive that is, don’t we.

So with the calm of meditation, I began changing that negative talk to positive. And funny thing—the issues began resolving.

3. The third thing is to talk to someone. Like you, I have a handful of very trusted friends who serve as sounding boards. And when I get way off track, I can talk to them for perspective. They know how packed my life is, and lord knows, they know I have 13 puppies as well!

They point out the flaws in my thinking. They show other avenues to the goal. They reinforce the positive parts of me that help me to reevaluate where I veered off track.

They help keep me sane.

  4. Which brings me to the 4th tool—letting go of outcomes.

Seems I get to practice this one a lot. Do you?

Like a true crazy person, that’s what I gave up for Lent.

What the heck was I thinking? I mean, I know what happens when you give something up—you get lots and lots and lots of opportunities to practice it. And my goodness, has that ever been the case (where the heck is Easter when you need it? Oh, yeah, it’s almost here! Thank you, God!).

It started out with little Mr. Green, and once I let go of the outcome with him, he began to thrive. Funny thing, he’s a gorgeous boy. He may actually be one of my keepers J Even though I hadn’t intended on keeping a boy from this litter.

What was that again about letting go of the outcome? Lol.

  5.And the biggest, best tool I’ve used is to stay in the moment.

What dawned on my wee little brain through this time was how blissful these babies are. Once I quieted my mind and quit fretting, the message came loud and clear—slow down and enjoy these babies.

Because even though I’m a show breeder of English Labradors, I don’t actually breed that often. Once a year, maybe. They grow before your very eyes, and will be gone before I know it.

And they are precious. Just precious.

They live entirely in the moment, and I decided to live those moments with them. Although of course, they’re all napping now while I’m writing this!

Once I did that, I became entirely steeped in puppy bliss.

Yep, all the work that’s backed up will still be there. I’ll get a chunk of it done today. And tomorrow, and the next . . .

But in the meantime I’m the luckiest girl alive. I have 13 fat healthy bouncy beautiful babies, who are so cute they’ll hurt you. And for the time being at least, they’re all mine to love. Ah, the abundance!

What do you do when frustration threatens to derail you?

About the Author Susan Malone

Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.

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50 comments
Colleen says April 12, 2017

I’ve been experiencing a bit of that frustration myself, Susan. For me, it’s a male pheasant who has decided to wake me up each morning with his croaky, nails-on-metal voice. I’m working on #2 and finding a way to convince him his true audience is elsewhere!

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Monica says April 12, 2017

I can’t believe you have 13 puppies in the house. How do you get anything done? I would spend each and every day adoring them. Plus I’m jealous…we’re in between dogs right now. Love this list. Isn’t it funny how we give up the most important things like meditations and thinking positive thoughts? Really – you are spot on!

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Joyce says April 12, 2017

Well, I got through the last crisis without taking up drinking. So, that’s a plus. That leaves me with locking myself in my office until I’m ready to face the world again.
Joyce recently posted…When Life Gives You Unexpected PrioritiesMy Profile

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Meghan says April 12, 2017

Some of the best life lessons I’ve learned have been from canines. One of them is living in the moment, as you point out above. While I struggle with the concept, I’m getting better at it. I can aspire to live life with the reckless abandon my dogs did, although it’s more likely that I’ll ponder quite a bit before I leap! This is one of my favorites from you.

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Rachel Lavern says April 12, 2017

Oh my goodness! Whatever are you doing with 13 dogs? Do you sell them? I cannot even begin to imagine how you get anything done with all of the distractions you must have. All of that cuteness!
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Tamuria says April 12, 2017

I feel your pain, Susan. It’s been crazy around here lately – restarting my art school, major house renovations, extra volunteering activities and more opportunities to spend time with the Goddesses. I am always writing impossible to do lists for myself and I know well the feeling of having to let go of outcomes. When it all becomes too much, I work hard to bring myself back into the moment and when I’m focused on that, everything else seems to work out. I am so glad Mr Green is doing well.

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Crystal says April 12, 2017

I hadn’t considered the benefit of letting go of outcomes. It’s a wonderful idea. Abolish your premeditated plan for what should happen and enjoy (or cope) with what is happening. Sounds like something I will need to practice, though.

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Pam says April 13, 2017

Wow! 13 puppies and I think I have my hands full with 2 adult dogs, lol. I think the single most important thing I can do to handle my frustrations is to talk it out with my sister or my best friend. It really does put everything in perspective and allows you a chance to think and talk things through and then go on with your day.

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Julia says April 13, 2017

How precious to give yourself the gift of that time with them ♡ I love all your tips, and especially the way you were able to turn your frustration around and appreciate all the joy and love those little fellows are bringing into your life.

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Vatsala Shukla says April 13, 2017

I think it’s safe for me to say that Mr Green is the apple of your eye, Susan. 🙂 Delighted to know the puppies are thriving – at one point we had 9 dachshunds in our home in Minsk when all 3 of our girls had babies (Bruno the father was quite the guy).

Coming back to the subject at hand, I think there is some change in energy going around, especially this week which makes every simple task appear difficult and lots of little things going wrong that add to delay. I do meditate and call out to the Angels for extra help but right now, the best solution I’ve found is to practice detachment from the outcome and keep muttering ‘my best is good enough’. Funnily, things are working out.

Lots of pats and scritches to the Puppy Gang and their Mom and virtual hugs to you, Susan. Good to know I’ve got company. 🙂

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    Susan Malone says April 13, 2017

    So here’s my theory on that, Vatsala. The week before Easter, there is so much negativity running around because folks are focused on the crucifixion. Once that’s done, the energy soars again! Seems to happen every year.
    I love that mantra–my best is good enough. I think I’ll use that this week, thank you.
    And yes, that Mr. Green just has me wrapped around his paw!
    Susan Malone recently posted…5 Ways to Deal with Frustration when You Want to Lose your MindMy Profile

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Robin says April 13, 2017

Oh my, 13 puppies; what an amazing gift you have! So glad you are enjoying them! Your article hit home withe me; giving up exercise when too busy; which is just plain self-defeating. Thanks for the kick in the pants I need.
Robin recently posted…Old Pawn Jewelry Dead PawnMy Profile

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Sue Kearney says April 13, 2017

So adorable (I wanted more pix!), and I bet it’s hard to remember to see that when you’re pooped. Thanks for the lovely and loving reminders.
Sue Kearney recently posted…Downsizing, right-sizing, letting goMy Profile

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Tami Qualls says April 13, 2017

I am going to try to implement these. I think letting go of outcomes is one of the hardest habits to break.
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Geniece Brown says April 13, 2017

Hi Susan,

First off, the primary blog post photo is super cute!! I couldn’t imagine that many puppies in the house though I’m sure my youngest kid would love a litter of puppies running around the house! Meditation is one of the things I get “too busy” for but I know it’s one of the most important things I should be doing.
Geniece Brown recently posted…2017 First Quarter Review: Accomplishments, Goals, & ProjectionsMy Profile

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Nancy at Whispered Inspirations says April 14, 2017

Frustration can really eat at you and bog you down if you let it. These are great ways to deal with it in a positive way so you can move on.
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Reba Linker says April 14, 2017

First of all, OMG is that puppy ever cute! Second, wow, what a lesson in letting go of outcomes! I read this immediately following our friend Sue Kearney’s post, and it is a double dose of letting go. Seems the Universe wants me in on this lesson, no? Thanks for sharing, and your marvelous writing, as always, helps turn a trauma into a golden nugget – wonderful alchemy!
Reba Linker recently posted…Let the Plants Speak for ThemselvesMy Profile

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Jonita Dsouza says April 14, 2017

Great tips Susan. I can totally relate how we can go off the track on meditation. Done that so many times 😉 also I sometimes find it hard to follow the tip 3 when I feel fragile.
Jonita Dsouza recently posted…How to Cultivate Compassion for People Who Piss You Off!My Profile

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Janella Panchamsingh says April 15, 2017

These are great tips. I have a short temper so I know all about this. Although its hard sometimes not losing my cool

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Teresa Salhi says April 15, 2017

Letting Go has been on my ‘list’ for a while now. I even had it as my word for the year. I love how you say when you give something up—you get lots and lots and lots of opportunities to practice it. I am so all over this and experiencing the same! Nonetheless, it is still worthwhile to me. Good luck to you too!
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Apolline Adiju says April 16, 2017

Wow! 13 Puppies! How don’t you lose your mind with all them under your control? You must have a busy day taking care of them and most especially playing with them. Well, I guess I can’t understand since I have never owned one myself. As for me, I deal with frustration by going into seclusion and try to reflect about it with lashing out in anger.

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Kristen Wilson says April 16, 2017

Oh girl.. I feel this one.. and I think I have gotten tons better with the work stress. I starts off in a panic of all that I have to do and how I run out of time and then I think… welp.. there is always tomorrow. 9 times out of 10 I stop, determine what HAS to be done right now, do it and then tack the rest on and work through the day. I don’t meditate.. hell, I can’t still still for one freaken minute, let alone 10… but taking deep breaths, all day long does help.
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Tandy Elisala says April 16, 2017

Oh Susan… when I first learned you had all these amazing puppies, I thought.. how in the world is she getting ANYTHING else done!?! lol. I love this post so much. I can relate to every.single. point you made here. When I get uber overwhelmed and frustrated, I like to meditate, journal and take time out to think about what’s really important.
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Anne says April 17, 2017

A good run around the neighborhood helps me clear my head! I can’t imagine 13 puppies! I remember when I brought my now passed Labrador home as a puppy. I was way younger and I could barely keep it together! Crazy little guys aren’t they!
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Lorii Abela says April 17, 2017

Letting go of the outcome is a biggie. It takes patience. It also goes hand in hand with being in the moment.

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Jennifer Quisenberry says April 18, 2017

Oh yes, letting go of outcomes. That’s a big one. In fact, we discussed that in one of my recent posts. It’s difficult for some of us to do, and it certainly takes a bit of getting used to doing. I’m grateful for having learned at least a little bit about how to do it. But there’s always room for improvement.
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