Tag Archives: frustration

Loving What Is

By Dr. Nancy Buck

One of the biggest causes of mental upset and unhappiness comes from our own making. Every time we resist what is actually happening right now in real life we make our own distress and mental discomfort.

You wake up to discover that it is a rainy day. You were hoping for a sunny day to enjoy your morning walk. Boy that is annoying! You’re really trying to get into the habit of getting outside everyday to walk and quiet  your mind. And now you can’t go!

What a perfect evening you had planned. You and a friend were going to have a lovely meal together then go see a movie. You were really looking forward to this. But your friend calls to cancel at the last minute. Now what? You’re fun evening is destroyed. Can you ever rely on this friend to come through?

Oh my gosh. You realize you’re getting sick – again! How many colds does that make for you since the fall? Does your body ever cooperate? You’re really being conscientious, taking special care of your diet, your exercise, your work out routines. And still you keep getting sick.

These are just a few examples of what may happen when what we get is very different from what we want. Upset, frustration, anger and disappointment are not unusual feelings.

But remaining in this same emotional spot long after the disappointment is over then becomes a choice. And with that choice comes the persistence in resisting what is actually happening now. Ever heard the expression “What you resist persists?”

The longer we hold on to our upset, disappointment and frustration about reality not turning into what we planned and wanted the longer we will continue to feel upset, disappointed and frustrated.

What can you do instead? Accept what is.

How? Get curious and see if you can discover the “silver lining” in the new reality of what is.

Need better instructions to follow this idea? Watch the movie Silver Linings Playbook. The whole movie is about our hero learning to make the best he can from some unhappy, disappointing changes and challenges in his life. Once he begins to accept what is actually happening now in his life, he discovers unexpected silver linings!

Want to improve your mental health and happiness? Start looking for your silver linings in your disappointments. When you are open to the possibilities you are more likely to discover unexpected treasures.

 

Meditation in Motion

by Veronica Daub

It was difficult to watch the smiling faces of my friends spinning in and out of view, their limbs contorting and stretching in ways that resembled circus ballerinas. A plastic circle—a hula hoop; well, I thought those died out with elementary recess. But between laughter and silent moments of concentration, it was clear to see their minds were snagged on something deeper. I could see the spark resulting from accepting a challenge flare across their face; a look of accomplishment upon the landing, or the seamless retrieval of their plastic dance partner as it tried to roll away. Their facial expressions danced with the rest of their bodies, and with all the focus in the limbs, naturally the control over the face slackened—their blatant joy was genuine and not forced. As they twirled within their circles, I could tell I was invisible to them, sitting on the lawn while mindlessly tearing grass from the ground. I looked on with fascination; I couldn’t stay on the sidelines for long. Finally: “Hey, teach me something.”

Veronica-balance

Three years later, my hoop and I have been through much reflection. People have called me “high-strung,” and I’ll admit I’ve always grown annoyed when attempting meditation. Sitting still doesn’t work for me—perhaps I need practice, but the combination of stilling my mind while allowing my body to convey the thoughts that flutter through my head has proven to be much more than useful. The hoop offers something much similar to meditation while including the action of my entire body. Whether it’s a distraction from any hurt or hardship that falls into my lap and wraps itself round my brain, a vehicle to release tension or stress from work or relationships, or a tool that magnifies a celebration—my hoop aligns me.

My hoop has become an extension of my limbs, and of course, it did not begin that way. Just like picking up a guitar for the first time, your fingers don’t know what to do, they’re awkward on the strings and it feels as though they’ll never feel at home on the neck of the instrument. The same is with the simple circle—it’s a foreign object that, just like a new friend, you need to grow familiar and comfortable with. When I first began, I would play for ten minutes before growing frustrated and tossing it aside. However, I always tell newcomers (because I try to spread the love of the circle further and further) the more you learn, the longer you’ll practice, because the more fun it will be. And then fun gives way to tools that benefit your headspace; within the circle is a place of comfort, a way to blur away and ease the frustrations of day to day life.

Plus, just wow, is it a great workout.

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There are many different ways to experience your hoop. On the wings of my favorite playlist, I drive myself into a dizzy stupor as my body tries to keep up with the tricks my mind tries to convey to my limbs, and I stumble around while panting through a huge grin that’s typical of a fiery session. But other times, my features are like still water, and my movements are slow and calculated. It’s during these times that the music is off, along with most of my senses. From the hoop to my fingertips, up my arm and to my shoulder blade, there is a direct connection to the stresses of my head which melt away as I let myself play with a toy like a child again. It’s necessary to embrace the child within us all, and the hoop has taught me to let the qualms of my life roll by like the hoop over my chest—contemplation rather than dwelling, and letting go rather than clenching on for dear life.

 

The Creative Mind (Part One)

by Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC

creativity-mikerice

Creativity can be found in all of us.  Many people consider creativity to be limited to the ability to make something materialistic, or to express one’s self in art, cooking, inventing, writing, or music.  While these things certainly require creativity, creativity is not limited to talent in those areas alone.   Everyone uses creativity each and every day of their lives for many different things.  We rely on creativity based upon the knowledge that we already possess about specific things, logic, and willingness to go beyond our knowledge.  We use creativity to make decisions that are primarily designed to result in happiness or pleasure.  We use creativity to solve or resolve problems in business, discussions/arguments, and in our relationships.

All we do, each and every day of our life is behave.  We choose our behaviors to satisfy our needs of survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.  When any of these needs are not being met to our desired level of satisfaction, it is human nature to rely on our creativity to satisfy and maintain those unmet needs.

If you have ever watched Naked and Afraid on cable TV, then you have watched individuals using their creative skills to satisfy their survival needs.  In relationships, we tend to put our best food forward when we first meet someone.  Behaving in a manner to cause another person to hopefully be drawn to you in a relationship relies on creativity for love and belonging needs.  Musicians, Artists, Chefs, Writers, Dancers, Educators, Athletes, and Inventors rely on creativity to be appreciated, helpful, competitive, to win, and to be respected as a result of their creative abilities.  These are ways of satisfying power needs.  Investing wisely for the future, making decisions and planning ways to free one’s self from confinement or from poor relationships relies on creativity.  Planning events, vacations, learning, and recreating requires creativity to make these things happen.

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and you just couldn’t come up with the things you wanted to say at the time in order to make a point?  That’s a silly question.  We’ve all done this.  Later, after the discussion or argument is over and both have gone separate ways, you continue to use your creativity thinking about it and suddenly you come up with whatever it is that you wish you had said or done during the discussion.   “I should have said . . . . “or “I should have done . . . .”  That’s creativity.

Here’s an exercise to utilize your creativity:  You wake in the morning and notice that it’s raining and you have a flat tire.  This is surely a frustrating situation.  So what will you do?  Some would say, “I’d change the tire by jacking it up and putting the spare on.”  But what would you do if you had loaned the jack to your neighbor several months ago and he never returned it?  “I’d go next door and get it back.” But he left for work an hour ago and no one else is at home.  “I’d call a friend to come get me to take me to work.”  S/he’s already gone and at their place of work.  “I’d call a cab to take me to work.”  These are examples of creativity.   Some may not use their creative skills very much and say, “I’d go back to bed.”  There are even more examples to this scenario that I could add but you get the idea.  Creativity is being used to overcome a frustrating situation.  With each creative endeavor that fails, another creative method is created until one of them eventually satisfies the frustration and need.

“But I got an emptiness deep inside and I’ve tried but it won’t let me go…”

Dr. Ken Larsen

I believe that happiness is not something we can seek for itself.  Dr. Glasser and Mike Rice (a friend who is a Choice Theory Addiction Counselor)  have told us that we can seek pleasure for itself, because pleasure can be a solitary pursuit.  Happiness is more of a byproduct of a life lived in caring relationships with others.  Within those relationships we are getting a large portion of our needs met for love and belonging, for fun, for freedom and for a sense of self efficacy or power.  For most of us, even if our lives are reasonably happy, there is still a level of the imperfect in our happiness.  There is often a small emptiness somewhere inside that is hungry for something that we may not even be able to name or identify.

questionThis hole in us may be a hunger for more intimacy in a relationship, a spiritual hunger, or that unexplained existential loneliness that haunts us, even when we are with those we love.

I think the Serenity Prayer offers an appropriate response to this hole inside us.  “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have found that if I strive and strain to fill the hole, to find the answer to the question raised by that empty space, it becomes more elusive and slippery.  Struggling to meet an unmet need that is beyond our grasp simply drives it further away.  For example, if I am striving to earn the affection and approval from someone who has withheld it, this will just widen the gap, and increase the distance between us.

It is far better for mental health to “accept the things I cannot change” and move on to pursue the other good things in life.  Many have found that in the process of letting go, the frustration and anxiety that are associated with that unmet need subsides and may even go away.   The interesting and paradoxical experience of many is that sometimes letting it go is what allows what is wanted and needed to gently come in to fill the hole without any strident effort. 

I believe that a perfect state of mental health and happiness is beyond our grasp.  I also believe that we can all make progress in this pursuit, even though the price for perfection is prohibitive.

https://youtu.be/sxDyXK93o6g

 

Creativity & Madness

By Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC

The 1960 movie, “The Magnificent Seven” was a box office hit staring Yul Brynner, playing the role of Chris Adams, and Steve McQueen, playing the role of Vin Tanner.  In one of the scenes, actor Eli Wallach, playing the role of Calvera, a Mexican bandit who was terrorizing a Mexican town’s inhabitants, asked Steve McQueen:

Calvera: What I don’t understand is why a man like you took the job (freeing the town) in the first place, hmm? Why, huh?
Chris: I wonder myself.
Calvera: No, come on, come on, tell me why.
Vin: It’s like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, “Why?”
Calvera: And?
Vin: He said, “It seemed to be a good idea at the time.”

How many times have you found yourself having done something that afterwards you asked yourself, “Why the hell did I do that?”  Looking back on it, you are amazed that you would have chosen to have done such a thing.  Your thoughts might be:  “Boy, was THAT ever stupid,” or “I can’t believe I did that.”

I recall a time many years ago when I dove head first into a water fountain in the town’s roundabout while wearing a 3 piece suit.  I wasn’t in conflict or frustrated at the time.  I was merely under the influence.  Alcohol can make one really stupid. After landing on my head and sitting in a lot of water with blood running down my face, I never once thought it was a good idea at the time.  I just always wanted to do that after years of driving around that fountain for years.  However, I do recall thinking to myself after I did it, “What a (blanking) dumb thing to do.”But that’s not the kind of dumb choices I wish to describe.

I’m referring to the times when you were under extreme duress and felt like you had no place to turn.  A few examples might be:  Going through a divorce or breakup; losing a job with no prospects for work due to your age; the death of a child or some other loved one; feeling you can’t please someone who is putting demands or expectations on you; someone who is behaving in a way in which you disapprove; someone dear to you who is nagging, complaining, blaming, criticizing, threatening, punishing, or even bribing you to get you to do something they wanted you to do that you didn’t want to do or didn’t know how to do it.

The reason why you may have ever done something “crazy” was because, at the time, it seemed like a good idea.  When faced with a particular situation in which you have no prior experience, and after all your efforts to resolve it with all of the tools you have learned to use in the past have failed, you get creative. . .  you devise new ways to resolve your unhappiness that you have never used before.  Your unhappiness may be so frustrating that any new idea that you devise, regardless of how insensible it may be, seemed like a good idea at the time.  Everything you had tried, so far, was unsuccessful in making your perceived unhappy situation match the happy image of what you wanted in your Quality World.

When we run out of choices, we create new choices.  

Many times, we look back on those choices and say, “That was a really dumb thing to do.”  But at the time, in your frustration, it made perfectly good sense.  You had to try it.  You never thought of it before.   Maybe, just maybe, it would work.  Then to make it even worse when it failed, someone says to you, “Just what the hell were you thinking?” canstockphoto0527001

Being too embarrassed to admit to our perceived stupidity, we reply, “Sheesh.  I don’t know.  I must have been out of my mind,” to which the other person is more than happy to agree.  But now, we have an excuse.  We were temporarily out of our right mind and not stupid.

I am often asked, “what about those people who keep doing crazy things over and over, like Obsessive Compulsive behaviors, anxiety, depression, schizophrenic behaviors of hearing and seeing things that aren’t there?”  People do what works to ease their unhappiness, in some way or another, or they wouldn’t do them.  You just don’t see the how or the why of it.

These behaviors serve to ease their frustrations, even just a little bit, because they have learned that if they didn’t do them, their unhappiness and frustration would be much more intense than it is. Their seemingly crazy behaviors are the result of their creativity to find something that works.  All they know is that when they do them, they feel better than when they don’t do them.  Whatever their unhappiness or frustration is, it is something that is occurring right now, in this present time.  And if it has been a long term pattern of behavior, it will be found to have roots in an unsatisfying relationship with someone important to them.  Very few situations arise in our lives that lead to depression or anger that don’t involve conflict with someone important in our lives (including conflict with ourselves).

Remember your state of mind when you chose to do something that seemed like a good idea at the time that now, in retrospect, was totally out of character for you to have done?  More than likely, your frustration at that time didn’t last for any long term of several months or more and you got your senses back.  But think about the person whose frustration has been an ongoing for many months or perhaps years.  The behaviors that you see as mental illness in others are no different than the behavior you exhibited during your own frustration.  The only difference is that you may have found a more socially acceptable way to deal with it than they have.  While you may not hear voices, hallucinate, or shoot people, you may be depressing, anxieting, obsessing, bipolarizing, and/or resorting to drugs, alcohol, indiscriminant sex, gambling, or excessive spending.

Regardless of the behavior, it is still the result of a person’s creativity to deal with unhappiness and frustration of trying to control things that are beyond their control.  It will mostly be the result of an unsatisfying relationship with an important person in their life. When someone fails time after time to get their happiness needs met, they discover or create the first behavior that affords them some modicum of relief.

Once a person comes to the reality that there is nothing they can do to change another person and they eventually accept their situation as “it is what it is,” and by no longer trying to get what they can’t make happen; by no longer wanting what it is that they have been striving to make happen will they no longer have a need to rely on the behaviors they have developed to ease their frustration and unhappiness.

Who was/is the person with whom you were/are not having the relationship that you wanted to have when you jumped into the cactus patch?  You weren’t (aren’t) mentally ill.  You were/are not as mentally healthy as you could be. You were emotionally upset and seeking relief or resolution.  Since there is no medical, bio-pathological cause of what is being labeled as “mental illness,” there is no pharmaceutical cure for unhappiness.    Change what you want or change how you behave when you don’t get what you want.  There are no other successful or effective ways.

 

Tomorrow is another day

Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Have you ever had a problem or upsetting issue that seemed to haunt and invade your every thought? Perhaps your thinking is drawn to the recent upsetting conversation you had during an argument with a loved one and no matter how hard you try to stop this train of thought, you play the conversation over and over and over again in your mind. Or maybe the senses of shock and disbelief from having received sudden and unwelcome news has your going over and over and over all options and possibilities in search of a solution and relief.

It’s like when you have a painful cavity or broken tooth. It seems that out of your control or awareness your tongue keeps going to the spot in your mouth to check; Does it still hurt? Sometimes it feels as though our minds return to the same painful thoughts to check; Does it still hurt?

Please check for other blogs that have been written to help you transform these experiences through searching for the GLO Gift, Lesson, Opportunity from these kinds of life events.

Here’s another idea that you can immediately implement to help you deal with these obsessions. Using this management strategy will help improve your Mental Health & Happiness while you are also dealing with the problem or issue.

waitingwomanSet aside thirty minutes during your day when you will indulge and embrace the upset, sadness, depression, anger, frustration or any other upsetting emotion accompanying your present circumstance. Make this a consistent and regular part of your day. Include any props, music, letters, articles, emails that you want and need to fully engage your emotions associated with your present situation.

Now set the timer for thirty minute and begin. During this thirty minute period do what ever you want and need to do: cry, yell, curse, write, rock, punch a pillow, stay motionless and silent or what ever else you feel moved to do. During this time you are not to worry about what others will think or say. You are alone, accepting, acknowledging and allowing full expression of your unhappiness. If you run out of steam before the thirty minutes is complete, simply sit breathing in and out while thinking about what has upset you. Allow your thinking to continually check in with your mind to see; Does it still hurt? Once your time is up, leave this space and know you will return to this practice tomorrow at the same time.

During the rest of you 23 hours and thirty minutes, when your mind drifts back to the upset, outrage or unhappiness, look at your watch. Have your reached the correct time to embrace this thought? If not, remind yourself that now is not the time for this thinking. You will get back to this thought later today at your designated time.

Give this a try the next time you find yourself feeling out of control and driven by your obsessive thoughts. Remind yourself that it’s okay to think those thoughts, feel those feelings and have your own personal temper tantrum. However, you are going to invite and engage your full range of emotions only during the time you manage and designate. Taking this kind of management and control will help support your Mental Health & Happiness during those unpredictable and upsetting moments in our life’s journey.

 

Choose FEAR or Love

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

choicesRight now, at this very moment I am standing at a crossroads. As I look in one direction I see doom, peril and potential ruination. In the other direction I see nothing. It’s as if vaseline is over my eyes and I cannot see anything except blurry blobs of ill defined shapes and sizes.

I blame myself for being in this predicament. If I had done a better job of paying closer attention perhaps I could have taken steps to avoid arriving at this particular spot in my life’s journey.

Hold on though. I am not a careless person. Each decision I’ve made along the way was based on doing the best I could at the time with the information that I had. Hmm . . .

I’m discovering that too frequently I blame myself for circumstances, events and outcomes that were not dependent only on my actions or inactions. If blaming is among the deadly habits that contribute to the deterioration and destruction of relationships, how does my blaming myself help me? Hmm . . .

Am I willing to dig a little deeper? Instead of going to self-blame can I better understand my frustration, anger and confusion?

Upon further reflection and some helpful meditative reading I discover that I’m full of fear! If I wasn’t afraid would I be stuck at the crossroads?

Here are some discoveries that have helped me:

FEAR = thinking + time. Decrease either and fear disappears

                                    F.E.A.R. – FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUNor

                                                     FORGET EVERYTHING AND RISE

                                                                                    (Thank you Dave Romanelli for this idea

Happy is the new Healthy, 2014)

What if I face my crossroads, my potential peril, doom or ruination with love instead of fear? Now what?

Yes! Yes! Yes! The choice of direction is clear even though the clarity has not eliminated the blurred and unclear road before me. With love as the guiding light and my total behavior of loving in every step I am propelled forward with confidence and competence.

I choose LOVE and with that choice my Mental Health & Happiness improves. Even though the present “bump in the road” felt more like an overwhelming and insurmountable mountain, with each loving step I am able to continue moving forward.

Are there areas in your life where you’re choosing fear instead of love?

 

In a slump?

By Nancy S buck, PhD, RN

Walking is man’s [woman’s] best medicine Hippocrates

Are you in a slump? Are you wanting, waiting, and craving spring to finally make some kind of an appearance? Do you feel restless or unhappy for no specific or apparent reason? Is today  just a day where you are a little irritated, frustrated, or down in the mouth?

woman runningThen get outside and go for a walk. Go for a walk to improve your Mental Health & Happiness. If possible go for a walk outside and search for signs of spring. Whatever your weather today, go outside and walk, walk, walk.

Want to improve your Mental Health & Happiness even more? Start walking with a bounce in your step while swinging your arms. Act as if you’ve just heard wonderful and happy news. Now  start walking with a joyful spring in your step and spirit. As you get into this kind of a positive rhythm you may discover that your mood begins to elevate. If you go for a longer walk continuing to raise your steps and vision, taking deeper and deeper breaths you will move into even greater peace, calm and maybe even joy.

If you are the kind of person who is unwilling to believe or trust this “woo-woo” stuff, there is some research to help persuade you. A recent study reported in The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that people who practiced this kind of walking were more likely to remember the positive in life during these kinds of walks.

For your own good and the good of your Mental Health & Happiness, go outside and start walking!

Turn it Off

By Denise Daub

This past week I tried something new… I turned off the TV.

Instead of watching the news with my coffee, I sat on my deck.  I took time to journal, read and think.  At the end of the day if  I found my eyes  to be too tired to read, I listened to my ipod or meditated.

nothingontv

It wasn’t too difficult, I can never find anything to watch anyway. Whenever I turn on the TV I usually end up feeling frustrated because there is nothing on that interests me.  My husband can always find something to watch which just makes me more frustrated because not only is there nothing I want to watch, I don’t want to watch what he wants to watch either!

I finally realized how much time I was wasting in front of the boob tube watching mindless shows that don’t interest me and getting angry at the TV.  So, I turned it off and found all this extra time to do things that I have been wanting to do, but just never seem to have the time.

Now, not only am I being more constructive with my time,  I am not wasting time being angry at the TV.

Needless to say I am happier and my mental health has definitely improved.  🙂

 

Man in a Hole

Dr. Ken Larsen

I first heard this story on an old episode of the “West Wing” series. I was moved by it then and it still gives me a thoughtful pause when I hear it again. Sometimes we need to take a risk to help another regain mental health and happiness. The funny thing is, we often get more ourselves when we reach down and help a brother out of the hole where he is stuck.
There was this guy walking down a street that was under construction. Somehow he got off the designated safe path and fell down a deep hole. The walls were so steep and the hole so deep that he couldn’t get out. Nearing despair he looked up, searching the opening hoping someone would come along to help.

After a while he spotted a Doctor walking by. The guy in the hole shouted, “Hey, Doc. Can you help me out?” The Doctor peered down into the hole, stepped back, took out his pen and wrote a Rx. He dropped the Rx down the hole and walked on.

maninholeA bit later a priest walked by. Our guy in the hole pleaded with the Padre, “Hey Father, can you help me out?” The priest looked down in the hole, wrote out a prayer and dropped it down the hole with his blessing as he turned and walked away.

The guy in the hole was getting pretty discouraged. After a while he looked up again and saw a friend walking by. “Hey Joe, it’s me Tom down in the hole. Can you help me out?” His friend looked down, and then jumped into the hole.

The guy in the hole says to his friend, “What, are you stupid? Now we’re both stuck down here.”

His friend replied, “Yes, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”

“So help your brother along the way, no matter where he starts. For the God that made you, made him, too.These men with broken hearts.” Hank Williams