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How to Transform Frustration into Power

October 18th, 2007 by Ryan

How to transform frustration into power using appreciationWe may like to think that we have "reached a higher level" or are "spiritual," yet when someone cuts us off on the freeway or a family member starts badgering us, we may slip right back into reaction mode. 

You can call them our emotional hot buttons; little things that get under our nerves and really aggravate us.  We momentarily forget all that meditation and spiritual knowledge we have learned and practiced. 

How can we overcome these "hot buttons"?  Better yet, how can we use them to  our advantage?  Below are simple steps to transform your frustrations into greater personal power.

Step 1:  Identify your hot button. Consciously watch yourself to see what triggers a reaction from you.  Is it a particular friend or family member, co-worker, or even a common situation?  For example, maybe when you're running late and the car in front of you is driving slow, or your friend keeps bringing up an old event that annoys you.

Step 2:  Observe your reaction.  Figure out how you reacted and if you are feeling positive or negative emotion.  Do you feel angry, defensive, or annoyed?  Are you yelling, cursing, or exaggerating the situation to fit your stance?  Make the connection between your hot button and your reaction, such as, "Ok, when my neighbors are being loud, I get mad and can't think straight."

Step 3:  Ask "what can I appreciate about this?"  Find something in the situation to appreciate, and think about it for a moment until you feel positive emotion.  This is a tough one at first, since our pain body welcomes more pain yet resists appreciation very strongly. 

For example, the other night I was laying in bed around 1am I hear this loud vacuuming from the school across the street from my house.  At first I instantly got frustrated and thought, "Why the hell do they have to clean at 1am on a Sunday night!" 

Then I caught myself and thought, "What can I appreciate about this?" 

  • Well, I'm glad that my ears are so good that I can hear the vacuum even with the windows shut. 
  • I'm also glad that the schools are taken care of so that the kids have a clean environment which means my neighborhood is pretty good. 
  • The sound knocked me back into my body, which helped me to become present and get out of my head. 

Within a few moments I had forgot about the loud noise and began to relax again.  I don't even remember when it stopped since I was already feeling good and thinking about something else.

Step 4: Decide how to act.  Once you are in a state of positive emotion, you are able to make a better decision and will be less likely to trigger the pain-body reaction from other people.  Sometimes people are behaving inappropriately and the best thing you can do is call them out on it.  The key, though, is to be in a state of positive emotion first so you can lead them into your state rather than let them pull you down into their negative state.

By going straight into gratitude and appreciation, you inoculate yourself from the outside world's effect on you.  This practice allows you to:

  • Actively create your own reality (you choose how you will act)
  • Manifest what you want easier (since there is less emotional resistance)
  • Develop charm and charisma (you overcome any objections with ease)

Imagine, when you are in a good mood and can reframe any negative situation into something good, others will be drawn into your positive reality. 

I observed this a while back during a vacation with my brother and dad.  My dad is very picky when it comes to food, and when our waiter brought us our pizza, he kept asking for extra toppings and questioning the ingredients.  My brother and I kept telling him to quit being so picky, we didn't want spit on our food. 

When he talked to the waiter, the guy just smiled and replied in his funny accent with answers like "So you guys like it spicy, no problem."  He didn't take anything personal and handled everything smoothly with pleasure.  Seeing him being happy relieved us and we all enjoyed the pizza even more.

Next time you feel angry or frustrated, ask yourself, "What can I appreciate about this?"  and see how things play out differently.

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6 Responses to “How to Transform Frustration into Power”

  1. Tuplad Says:

    Great article, never thought about that one, this one is def. going to get noted >:)

  2. Joyangel123 Says:

    Excellent article and great tips. It is a much better way than ranting and raving.


  3. Ryan Says:

    Glad to hear it 🙂

  4. Attention is Your Spiritual Currency | Yang Town Says:

    […] do we cultivate gratitude and self-acceptance?  For gratitude, see my previous post on Transforming Frustration into Power.  As for self-acceptance, it's probably the hardest for most people and I'm not able […]

  5. Sarcasm - Personal Development for Smart People Forums Says:

    […] frustration and fear. Here is a post that I wrote about that talks about something similar: How to Transform Frustration into Power | Yang Town __________________ Spirituality,Dating,Self-Improvement Blog – Yang Town: The Path of Masculine […]

  6. donna Says:

    Hello! I am a woman who has been on my journey to mindfulness and non re-activity. I came across your site and am enjoying the info that you are presenting to us. I can’t wait to try the zipper technique. I think my grief stems from thinking people are more than what they truly are. You know …more aware, intelligent, mature etc. Finding out I was wrong was a shock to me esp. when they are my older siblings and others who are more advanced in years. That is why I would react with hurt and anger at insults etc. Because I truly thought they would know better than to treat a person they supposedly love in such an unkind and rude manner. Intentionally trying to humiliate another person in order to look superior to that person. I have to keep a cool mindset and realize these are troubled people who have unrealized and unacknowledged personality difficulties. I am working on mine and I don’t need to take on someone else’s. I love them and send them a blessing without absorbing that negativity. It’s a process but I am feeling better about taking my stance. It is my hope to handle whatever comes at me in a manner that shows love to myself and others. If I have to remove myself from another persons presence, I will. When a simple conversation starts to sound like “whose on first” I say my goodbyes with a hope to see them at another, better time. I don’t want to be an angry person with an axe to grind. I just want to love people while they are alive. I don’t want to have those regrets when anyone dies. At that time, it will be bad enough knowing they are truly gone and there are no more second chances to show love to them. That is the worst heartache of all. Thanks for all! Donna

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