10 tips to managing frustration

Some of the advice in this short piece – Six Great Ways to Vent Your Frustration – could have come in handy as I moved from one city to another this week, but I’ll share with you the techniques I called on to manage frustration during the move itself:

1) Scold inanimate objects
When a drawer is stuck, your table won’t fit through the door, and your backpack refuses to accommodate the dozen books and folders you’re trying to cram into it, let them know exactly how disappointed you are.

2) Hum under your breath
For me it was mostly Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

3) Picture an end point
I kept thinking of myself at the end of the day in bed with a book after a long shower. Feelings of peace flowed through me.

4) Make jokes
The laughter might have an edge of hysteria to it, but it’s still laughter.

5) Take moments here and there to rest
Sit down, lie down, stop for a drink (of water, not liquor), look around at how much stuff you have left to do how much you’ve accomplished.

6) Make note of progress
Look around and remind yourself that however much is left you really are getting things done. The room is emptier and tidier, half the furniture has been cleared out; there’s progress, bit by bit. That was my mantra: bit by bit.

7) Have concrete plans for what you need to do
Spelling out a list of steps you need to take and a schedule to follow makes life more manageable. Then if you get done with things ahead of time you’re rewarded with a good feeling of being efficient and effectual (and if you don’t get done ahead of time, scold some more inanimate objects). It’s also best to de-clutter as much as possible beforehand, a lesson I’ll take to heart for any future moves.

8) Tear things up
I had to tear up a lot of papers. It was satisfying.

9) Thank other people
Thinking about others and how they’re helping you counteracts the tendency to stew silently.

10) Count your blessings
A few things went unexpectedly well during the move, and I’ve got much to be thankful for – not least, having a home to move to.

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