One dictionary definition of frustration says it is “the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.” In other words, it is the same as being pissed off.
You are not human if you have never experienced the feeling of frustration. It often happens during your job, when dealing with family, friends, or more likely, people you don’t like. We can feel frustrated at the division of the country, the yawning gap between the main political parties, or the fact that pumpkin-spice latte drinks are only available for a short period during the year.
Bad customer service is a major source of frustration. An Accenture survey discovered that 89% of customers become frustrated because of a need to repeat their issues to several representatives.
The U.S. healthcare system stands alone as the world-leader in causing frustration. The list of things that piss us off goes on and on!
While frustration isn’t classified as a medical issue, it is an emotional and psychological one. We choose to become frustrated because we feel it is an obstacle to the achievement of a goal. In that case, perhaps CBD can potentially alleviate the feeling of frustration and help calm us down. Let’s find out.
What Is Frustration? Why Do We Become Frustrated?
Frustration and anger are often thrown into the same boat. While they are similar feelings, frustration seldom causes such a profound effect as anger, nor is it as ‘strong’ an emotion. Frustration is a natural human emotional and psychological response to something. It is a feeling usually based on the disappointment of something not working out as hoped or anticipated.
If you believe something has prevented you from achieving a goal, frustration is a typical response. It can happen when you miss your bus by 30 seconds, lose out on a job despite giving what you thought was a good interview, or discovering that a politician you voted for reneged on a campaign promise.
In general, frustration is divided into internal and external sources. Internal frustration is the disappointment of not getting what you want, either from a real or imagined deficiency. External frustration involves outside conditions you have no control over. Examples include being kept in a queue for two hours at the DMV or getting caught in traffic on the way to work.
Here is a quick list of factors that could result in frustration:
- A difference between your goals and those of someone capable of impacting your goals
- Lack of communication
- An unclear relationship; especially between colleagues at work
- Limited resources
- Personal background
Typical responses to frustration include:
- Loss of confidence
- Addictive behaviors, including alcohol, drug, or even junk food consumption.
A structure in our brain called the amygdala is responsible for identifying “threats” to our safety, in addition to producing a reactive neurochemical response which serves to “protect” ourselves from the said threat. Often, this response ends up being an emotional one – that is, we react to the neurochemical release in the form of anger, rage, frustration, etc.
The problem is that due to our genetic makeup, some of us are prone to releasing these neurochemical responses much more quickly and readily than others.
This explains why some of us get so easily angered, frustrated, and enraged by seemingly innocuous situations, whereas others might barely even produce an emotional response.
Of course, there are techniques and “coping strategies” that can be employed to react to the amygdala’s initial detection of threat more appropriately. After all, properly managing anger (and the frustration that results) is a learned skill rather than an instinctive knee-jerk reaction that we’re born with.
Coping Mechanisms and Conventional Treatments for Frustration and Anger Control
Rather than seeking to eliminate frustration forever, you should be more realistic and aim to minimize the feeling and ensure you choose a healthier response. Often, when you’re frustrated, there is a question running through your mind, which relates to the frustration. Let’s examine some of the most common ones and see if we can come up with an answer.
How Could You Do That?
Whether another person has failed to do something you asked, or else they did it in the ‘incorrect’ manner, it is only natural to become frustrated. First, we ask how this situation could exist, and then try to look for a ‘fix.’ Instead of becoming frustrated in this scenario, look at it as an opportunity to test your problem-solving skills and ‘save the day’ like Superman.
Why Is This Happening?
You’re on the way to the airport, and an accident has caused a pile-up. There’s a chance you will miss your flight due to this unforeseen circumstance. You can ruminate in the car and become angry at the situation, or relax and understand that there is little you can do about the situation.
Also, if you stay calm, you may come up with an unexpected solution. In the example above, perhaps you can try and take a different route, or call the airline and explain the situation. It could be that lots of your fellow passengers are in the same traffic jam. If so, the airline may push back the flight time.
Why Haven’t They Called?
If you’re waiting for an important phone call, but no one is ringing, it is normal to become frustrated at the lack of action. However, you have to realize that you will either get the phone call or you won’t. Take your mind off things by engaging in a productive activity. Time is precious, so don’t waste it by waiting for something to happen outside of your control.
Perhaps the best way to cope with frustration is to perform physical activity. The release of endorphins should temporarily relieve stress.
You should also try a simple breathing exercise. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm and slowly repeat a calming word or phrase such as ‘take it easy’ or ‘relax.’
If frustration is threatening to take over your life, get in touch with a therapist who can analyze your behavior impartially. The therapist can even work with you on communication skills. Remember, poor communication is the source of a LOT of frustration. Don’t go down the route of pharmaceutical drugs or opioids for frustration, unless you want to make things worse.
Can CBD Work for Frustration?
CBD is relatively new to the market even though its existence has been known about for decades when it was isolated from the marijuana plant. It is the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana and is also hugely abundant in industrial hemp, which is now legal to grow in the United States. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating, which means you do not experience a ‘high.’
Although research is ongoing, CBD is associated with the alleviation of anger and stress. Cannabidiol is believed to:
- Result in the release of pleasure hormones in the body which induce feelings of calm, while reducing stress and anxiety.
- Positively affect the basolateral amygdala receptors in our bodies to process the majority of our sensory information.
- Manipulate cannabinoid (CB) receptors in our brain’s limbic region.
- Interact with receptors in the hippocampus to stimulate positive emotions.
- Reduce cognitive impairment.
- Possess anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the effects stress has on our heart and arteries.
While no research looks directly into the effects of CBD on frustration, there are ample studies that have sought a link between CBD and a reduction in stress and anxiety, two emotional states closely associated with feelings of frustration. One of the best ways to combat a feeling of frustration is to become calm, and CBD may help you achieve this frame of mind.
As far as anxiety is concerned, CBD could alter serotonin signals. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, and low levels are often linked with depression and anxiety. A study by Shannon et al., published in The Permanente Journal in January 2019, looked at how CBD affected anxiety and sleep. In a study of 72 patients (47 reported anxiety while 25 reported poor sleep), 79% of them reported reduced anxiety scores after a month of CBD use.
One of the most-cited studies into CBD’s positive effects on anxiety was the research conducted by Bergamaschi et al., which was published in Neuropsychopharmacology in May 2011. A group of 24 patients who had never used CBD before, received a 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo before a simulation public speaking test. Those who used the CBD reported feeling significantly less anxious about the upcoming speech. These individuals didn’t know at the time whether they used the CBD or placebo.
A review by Blessing et al., published in Neurotherapeutics in October 2015, looked at CBD as a possible treatment for anxiety disorders. The detailed review concluded that “preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety disorders relevant to multiple disorders including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Frustration
While it is unlikely that we’ll see any studies into CBD’s effects on frustration alone, there is plenty of research into its efficacy when treating mood disorders. To date, the results of these studies weigh heavily in CBD’s favor as a means of reducing stress and anxiety. If you have ever experienced frustration, you’ll probably have felt one or both emotions. You may also have felt angry.
CBD is championed as a means of helping users calm down, and the number of cannabidiol users is now in the millions. Perhaps the best method of reducing the level of frustration you feel is to understand that your emotions are governed by your thoughts. Step one of any program to feel less frustrated in life is to change your thoughts.
Rather than being angry, stressed out, anxious, and frustrated at a person, object, or situation, remain calm and spend most of your time figuring out a way to ‘solve’ the problem if necessary. On other occasions, there will be nothing you can do, so it is best to try to relax as much as possible. If you need help reaching a relaxed state, CBD could be precisely what you need.
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