Did he intend it? Clearly not. But Novak Djokovic still inadvertently shot himself in the foot when he recently let his frustration get the better of him at the ongoing US Open. The tennis ace had lost his serve at a crucial juncture in the first set against Pablo Carreno Busta. He should have kept calm and carried on. But instead he thwacked a ball with his racket without realising that it would end up smacking a line judge near her neck. Djokovic, of course, apologised immediately. But his remorse wasn’t enough. The tournament’s rules are such that the organisers had no option but to disqualify him entirely.”
It meant that the World No 1 ended up losing all his ranking points and prize money. But such a momentary lack of judgment can play out in the average person’s personal and professional lives as well. A sense of frustration can come from, say, a colleague getting credit at work when you actually deserve it. Or, it can arise at home when you might be having an argument with a partner who is refusing to listen to your point of view.
Either way, it’s important to maintain your mental equilibrium. “It’s important not to snap,” says life coach Namita Piparaiya, adding that she’s been hearing a lot about the act of juggling household chores and office work taking a toll on people during the pandemic. She tells us about ways to deal with these various forms of frustration. We’ve listed some helpful suggestions across work and home scenarios.
. A healthy short-term response to anger is to take a quick break, like taking a walk, so that you can process the feeling better instead of taking things out on someone else.
. You can also train your mind to conjure a soothing image at such moments. It could be the memory of a happy occasion with your family or, if you’re religiously inclined, the picture of a deity. “It helps cleanse your mental palate since your focus shifts,” Piparaiya explains.
. Occupy yourself with some physical activity including household chores. Piparaiya says, “This helps channel your negative energies in a better manner.”
. Long-term methods are the best way of dealing with the issue. These can include yoga or meditation. Piparaiya tells us that these practices help train the mind to minimise such outbursts. “Our impulsive and rational behaviours are governed by different parts of the brain, and [yoga and meditation] help people control impulses. But you need to understand that frustration needs to be managed, not suppressed,” she says, adding that taking up art or talking to a counsellor are also handy tools.
. Different people react differently when they are frustrated. Some have outbursts and might feel like breaking things. Others go into a shell they find difficult to come out of. And a few others can have frequent mood swings. “There are those who also can’t help but cry, because they are so overwhelmed by their emotions,” Piparaiya explains.
. The biggest drawback of not being able to manage frustration is a poor quality of life. “We won’t be able to evolve as human beings if we aren’t able to deal with our negative emotions because they will then keep recurring,” the life coach says. This will have an impact on relationships. Plus, a person who is full of grudges will end up having poorer social interactions.
. Finally, it’s important to have a balanced attitude to both the good and the bad in life. If we are too excited about the good, we will equally feel the frustration of the bad. So take both situations in your stride, and keep your ego at bay since it leads to a fear of failure and, hence, frustration.
Motivational coach Dr Siddhant Bhargava adds that the first thing a person feeling frustration must do is to respond, and not react. “That’s the mistake Djokovic made; he reacted by choosing to be aggresive and vent his feelings out on a ball,” Dr Bhargava says. He adds that just like tennis players are allowed one time-out to get attended by a physio, the lay person can also seek external help. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a psychiatrist. It can even be a friend who you can turn to for support.
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