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How To Manage the Frustrations of Aging

Aging is an inherently frustrating process. Changes in our physical appearances and abilities can be psychologically complicated to process. Between hearing changes and the fast-changing culture, it can be hard to communicate with people. Gracefully as we may age, our knees, feet, and joints might get stiff or achy. These things can be intensely frustrating.

However, we don't want to spend our retirement years in frustration. We've endured enough of that in the workplace. No, we want to spend our retirement enjoying ourselves. It is, therefore, crucial to find ways of coping with frustration to keep your retirement smooth. Here are ten tips to help you manage your frustrations as you age.

10 Tips to Deal with the Frustrations of Aging

     1. Get Some Distance

Emotionally distancing yourself from the situation can help you see things more objectively. In the heat of the moment, when we feel very frustrated, we often distort or exaggerate events. Walking away from the frustrating situation for five minutes, taking a few deep breaths, and trying to view the problem from a birds-eye view can help you gain perspective and take control of a frustrating situation.

     2. Acknowledge the Frustration

Sometimes, when we feel frustrated, we have a hard time simply saying the words, "I am frustrated." We may instead become angry and irrational. There is great power in acknowledging an emotion, feeling it, and then letting it go. Taking command of the emotion and saying the words, "I am frustrated," can be very empowering in the moment. It gives you a way to voice your feelings and communicate to other people that you may need a break. It may also open up the conversation to help you get at a larger root issue of the frustration. 

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     3. Assess the Changeability of Your Situation

Is the source of your frustration something that you can change, like an environmental factor in your home? Or is the source of your frustration something that you cannot change, like the price of gasoline or having a weak knee? If you can exert any control over the situation to change it, your frustration might be warranted. It's time to tackle the problem. Recruit help if needed. If there is nothing you can do to change the situation, the best thing you can do is find a way of accepting it.

     4. Take a Break

older man taking a break at the beach meditatingIf a task is becoming frustrating, sometimes the best thing is to take a break from it. Walking away from a frustrating task or situation to take a break and cool off is an excellent way to avoid becoming overwhelmed in the face of a frustrating situation. Most things are not truly urgent. Remembering that you are free to take a break from almost any task or situation can empower you to manage your frustration and time.

     5. Talk to a Friend

Sometimes, bringing a situation to an objective third party can help you take stock of what is going on and find ways to address what is frustrating. This is a very fancy way of saying: talk to a friend. Review the situation with your spouse, your best pal, a therapist, or even your pastor. Talking to someone outside of the frustrating situation can be an excellent way to gain perspective.

     6. Reframe Your Perspective

older man pulling hair out of frustrationWhen we get frustrated, our mind gets stuck on a negative track. All we can think about is the singular thing that is driving us crazy at that moment. When we have powerful negative feelings associated with frustration, they can spill over into other areas of our lives or cause us to take a negative viewpoint on things. When you get stuck in a negativity loop, recognize what is happening, and think about the good things in your life. Think about your loved ones, treasured memories, favorite foods, or other things that bring you any small amount of joy.

     7. Exercise

It can be hard to exercise as we get older, but that doesn't mean it is impossible to exercise. If you have specific joints or body parts that hurt, talk to your doctor and ask them what kind of exercise you can do. Even a gentle walk around the neighborhood, a morning swim at the YMCA, or yoga in the park can be a great way to get some exercise. Not only will it help your body, but the exercise will also help you process frustration better and cope with stress better in general.

     8. Meditate

senior woman meditating outdoorsMeditation might sound like a New Age way of dealing with stress, but that doesn't mean that those of us with a few more years under our belt can't also enjoy its benefits. Meditation doesn't have to be spiritual or religious in any way: sitting up straight, pulling your shoulders back, and taking slow, deep breaths to a count of ten is a great way to meditate. Meditation helps us process our emotions, recognize our feelings, and find productive ways of coping with stressful or frustrating situations. Those who meditate may also experience physical benefits like reduced blood pressure and better posture. If you don't like the idea of meditating, you could try praying. Prayer can accomplish many of the same things that meditation can. It can help put us into a better mental or spiritual space, help give us perspective, and help us take some distance from the situation.

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     9. Channel Your Frustration

Frustration can be a powerful motivator. If it is channeled into something productive, it can actually be a helpful tool. Maybe you have taken up painting or drawing: take your frustrations out on the canvas. Perhaps you are starting a new exercise regimen: channel your frustrations into your workout. Redirecting the energy that frustration brings us is a good strategy for dealing with unavoidable frustrations.

     10. Take a Nap

That's right: take a nap. Sometimes, when things get truly outrageous and we just don't know what else to do, going to bed can be a great way to reset the situation in your mind. In a way, it is the ultimate power move: you are exerting your power over the situation by wandering off and taking a snooze. Not only is it a great way to regain control of yourself, but taking a nap is also beneficial for our concentration and even our physical health.

Let us know in the comments below - What is your favorite method of dealing with frustration?

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