In life, ‘stuff happens’ and from time to time, un-resourceful emotions may prevail over rational responses. To be human and healthy is to show a range of emotions, the challenge at times, is how to manage frustration or other negative emotions when they become distracting? How do we defuse and dissolve intense negative feelings, without saying something we may later regret or making a poor decision in the spur of the moment?
"To be human and healthy is to show a range of emotions"
If you’re a master at mindfulness, this may not be for you - although I’m yet to meet a mindful practitioner who at some point has not experienced moments of frustration distracting them from being fully present.
If negative emotions spill over into other areas of your life, clouding perception and judgement - here’s an easy way to dissolve the intensity and gain a clearer outlook. A heads up - whilst this technique is simplistic, it may be confronting for anyone who is overly- practiced at bottling up their emotions. You’re next step is a new way of approaching negative emotion that can impact communication effectiveness.
Here’s five simple steps to help you and a friend get rid of frustration easily and effectively:
- With your venting buddy, allocate two minutes to vent. Use your phone to time this.
- Invite your buddy to give it their best, no holding back. They can yell, move around, or even swear if it helps (If venting is not appropriate at that time, suggest a reschedule with further discussion of the ‘frustration’ put on hold.)
- If they run out of steam before two minutes is up, encourage them to keep going. Be creative - get them to punch a cushion or pillow if it helps!
- When two minutes are up, let them know and be firm with this.
- Acknowledge their efforts and re-set expectations, so they know any further conversation on this topic must be solutions-focussed and ask for their commitment on this.
It’s a cathartic experience providing a safe space to vent frustrations in an animated way - it helps release intense emotions and afterwards, there’s a feeling of calm and bouts of laughter sometimes! Once the intense emotions are released, you or your buddy feel less reactive and have a clearer perspective to move forward.
When a friend is having a tough time, be there for them by creating a space for them to vent.
This approach wont get rid of the issue. What it does achieve is a dampening down brewing resentment or frustration and it’s preferable than talking about the same problem over again.
When a friend is having a tough time, be there for them by creating a space for them to vent. Make it clear to them you want to help them move beyond their frustrations. Ultimately, energy flows where focus goes and we want to be our best self.
If you enjoyed this,Kerryn is author of UNSTOPPABLE - The Professional Woman’s Guide To Purpose, Power & Prosperity. Kerryn's mission is closing the confidence and achievement gap for women. Transforming self-worth into business worth, Kerryn works with professional women to build business and leadership skills. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerryn is Vice President of Professional Speakers Australia (VIC, SA, TAS), Founding Director of CORE Potential, creator of Results Roundtable, member of the Australian Institute of Training & Development and International Coach Guild.