Weekly Wellness Update

Week of June 15-19 - Dealing With Frustration

Relationship, Room, and Rest for the Cooped-Up Adolescent

by Darlene Denis-Friske

My 17-year-old son Jacksen bounded out of his room this morning, fresh out of bed, greeting us without a hello or good morning but instead straight-up yelling, “That’s it! I’m not staying in this house today! I’m going out! And I don’t care what anybody says right now!”

Did I say, “No you are not! You can’t go out right now because we are all expected to self-isolate as part of protecting our community, and it’s our social responsibility and furthermore, so on and so forth, and blah-blah-blah, and so on and so forth…. [insert lecture]”?

No, I didn’t say any of that, even though my rapidly firing stress response pushed me in that direction. I didn’t match his alarm and frustration with my own. Now is the time to give room for his emotions, not mine. I didn’t push my will up against his. We all know where that kind of foolish challenge can lead, turning bad to worse.

Instead, my husband and I let him vent. We made him some eggs and toast for breakfast while he stomped around a bit. And the storm passed just as quickly as it had arrived.

Right now, the cooped-up adolescent is trying to navigate the emotional impact of these strange days, with panic and fear rapidly circulating all around. Adolescents are absorbing intense stress during an already heightened time of developmental turbulence.

For many, being cut off from school, friendships, and regular activities will fester worry about the “what ifs” that are further fueled by negative social media exposure. We simply have to accept that we are sometimes going to see this tension play out in their behavior, in their tone, in their language, in their decisions, in their demands, in their challenges….

5 Things to Try When You’re Frustrated

Frustration makes it hard to see that constructive action is possible.

Posted Sep 25, 2019

Here’s the dictionary definition of frustration: “The feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of an inability to change or achieve something.” Sound familiar? It sure does to me, especially in the context of health. I am unable to change the fact that I live with chronic pain and illness every day. I could relate many instances of when frustration has boiled over into anger, often followed by tears.

The problem with frustration—no matter in what context—is that being “upset or annoyed” adds a second layer of suffering to the emotional suffering you’re already caught up in. In my experience, frustration serves no useful purpose. Quite the opposite: It clouds the mind, making it hard to see if there’s constructive action you could take to improve your situation.

Over the years, I’ve developed some strategies to minimize the impact of frustration in my life. (These suggestions apply to any source of frustration, whether in relation to your health or not.)

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Kid's Meditation to Befriend Difficult Emotions
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