Productive frustration

Negative emotions can be problematic if left unchecked, like frustration, but they can be a guide too. If something is frustrating you, see if there’s something you’re missing. Some extra piece of information that is vital to understand the situation that you either don’t know about or have forgotten about.

For example, Jonathan and I were shopping the other day and I went off to look in another aisle. When I was done finding my item, I couldn’t find Jonathan. I became frustrated because I couldn’t find him and assumed he had just wandered off to another part of the store. Ironically, when I found him, he was right where I left him. My frustration with him carelessly walking off was premature. I had forgotten where we had parted ways.

Our brains aren’t engineered to recall every relevant piece of information when we need it. Instead of beating ourselves up, when we’re frustrated, why not take the time to see if we can figure out what’s missing?