5 Ways to Fool Away Frustration



It's August but the worst kind of Autumn has already arrived in Estonia. It has been raining eeevery day, just as it did in February for a whole month. And since it's raining all the time it's also dark, which is the most frustrating thing, because in reality it should still be light most of the day for couple more months. Until the never-ending winter darkness descends. And no matter how positive a person you are there is no way the darkness wouldn't affect you. Especially when I lived much more South it was easy to recognize from people's reactions that darkness was descending here, because people started to complain more than usual. The closer to the end of the year we got the worse the complaining got, and the array of issues worth complaining about went to stratospheric lengths.

French are famous for being very big complainers but I think we Finns could beat them hands down every time. It's in our genes. But in the end no matter how much you complain it never makes you feel any better about anything. So for years I have trained myself out of the never-ending circle of complaining. Obviously the first step to tackling this bad habit is to acknowledge it, after which you can start improving or at least try. Here are some ideas that work for me whenever frustration starts to take over;
  • Music
Music has amazing power; you can create a certain atmosphere with it or improve the quality of your working day in the most simple way, it can give surprising inspiration and for me it's also a way to raise my spirits. As an example, if the work day has been hard I usually put on some chill music to the background at home and just relax on the couch for half an hour. The same goes for frustration: when something, that you usually can't do anything about, really annoys you put on some energetic and happy music (Spice Girls works every time)! It's very hard to sulk when your apartment is filled with shouts of "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends!" I also recommend taking couple dance steps, free style. Because nothing clears your mind better than having a little party of your own.

  • Food

If music isn't really your thing, you can direct your mind to other everyday things rather than wallow in the negative thoughts. Cooking is a good option here just because it requires concentration so that you don't burn the pasta (oh yes, it is possible!) or if you like trying new flavour combinations. Or just because the fact is that when you feed yourself your spirits also rise, no matter what. 

  • Sport
Doing sports is the best and the most favourite way to let off some steam. And I must admit, even though I don't do much sports anymore, that it really does work! But even if you don't own a gym membership or even a air of running trousers you can always go for a walk. Especially in Finland we have parks, forests and running tracks everywhere close, even Helsinki consists of a lot of woods. Fresh air clears the mind, always. Even if you would be contemplating the issues that annoy you presently, you probably process the issues so thoroughly in your mind while walking that when returning home they're not such big issues any more. 



  • Animal Therapy
The best cure for stress forever and always are animals! It is a scientifically proven fact that stroking a dog, for example, lowers stress levels considerably. Even if you don't own any pets some of your friends or family surely do. Alternatively you could take the bull by the horns properly and go to a zoo or to a local animal rescue unit to help out with taking care of the inhabitants, walking the dogs for example. These days there are options for those also who suffer from animal allergies; there are all sorts of "toy" pets (robots I think they call them) that have the same effect on our stress levels as live animals. They must be quite costly, though, but I know such things are used in some elderly homes in Finland.
  • Directing your thoughts somewhere else
Change is usually a good thing, so even with small changes, like changing the order of your furniture at home or thinking where you would like to travel next you can easily direct your thoughts elsewhere at least for some time. And when that eventually leads to concrete actions, like you booking the next weekend trip to Prague, the things that an hour ago annoyed you so much have suddenly changed into happy anticipation. 



Of course these are just quick fixes, so if in reality you are a hopeless complainer the change must happen internally as well. For this you must be able to stop for a moment and really consider things from other people's perspective and whether the issue really is worth all that waste of energy. Especially when it is something that you simply can't control (like rain). Why wallow in the negative thoughts when alternatively you could just admit the fact that you are just fine despite the rain. You have an apartment, you can get by, you have friends and family, you have food on your table. Little things in life are the things that matter. Appreciating the little things seems to be the challenge for most people, though.

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