A great place to start is knowing where frustration comes from.  Yes, we know it's to do with feelings of powerlessness, but why does it make us get so het up?

It's useful, perhaps, to examine it from a TA (Transaction Analysis) viewpoint.

Frustration is...

...the voice of our inner Child throwing a tantrum because we can't get what we want.   And what we want may be decided by our inner Parent (you should do this) or our inner Adult (I want to do this because...), or by the Parent and the Adult working in collusion.

When things aren't working how we want, our Adult should try to figure out what's not working and put a plan in place to sort it out.  Or, if it's something outside our control - like the computer not doing what it's supposed to - we should just relax and say, "OK, this might take longer than I expected, or I might have to try a different approach."

How often do we actually respond in this resourceful way?

Practically never!

This goes right back to our early formative experiences of helplessness, when we couldn't articulate what we wanted.  The stage in our lives when we started formulating the I'm Not OK, You're OK view - I'm a helpless little baby and you're a powerful, strong big person who feeds me and comforts me.

As grown ups, some of us still operate from the I'm Not OK, Why do I always screw things up? position.  Coming from a place of pessimism, such people don't expect things to work out and may be less prone to frustration, or when it hits, they're expecting it so it might not destabilise them to the same extent.

But what about...

...those of us who have evolved to an I'm OK worldview?  We're relaxed and comfortable about who we are and where we're going.  Then something comes up and shakes us out of our 'reality', making us feel threatened.

This triggers our primal 'fight or flight' instinct and, in neurological terms, our amigdala kicks in and highjacks our brains, making us unable to respond in any way other than to get angry.

So what...

...can we do about it, now we know what's going on?

Well, as I see it, there are two potential strategies.

1.  Avoid Getting Frustrated

We could achieve this in various ways.  If we let go of needing to do things, or doing them within a specific timeframe, when things aren't working out we'll just say, "OK, whatever."

We could plan for some things to go wrong.  By expecting to have to overcome unexpected obstacles, would could percieve them as just being markers along the way to success.  A great example of this is the sales person who expects to get 20 no's before getting a yes.

Or we could put contingency plan in place so we can still use our time constructively and make progress even when things aren't working out.  OK, so this isn't working, I'll go for a run and listen to an audio instead.

2. Handle Frustration Differently

Once we understand what's going on in our minds, we may be able to identify the incipient onset of frustration and head it off at the pass.  We could break state by standing up, taking a few deep breaths and pacing up and down until the feeling begins to subside.  Then re-focus, accepting the source of frustration and realising it's not good or bad, it just is.

Or is there some way we can dissipate our anger at the frustration - a punch bag, stress ball or maybe listening to Nirvana on your headphones very loud!  [Important note: if you do this in a crowded office, be careful not to sing out loud :-)]

And there's...

...a third way.  Just get so stinking rich that nothing matters any more.  Whatever happens, everthing is provided for and when frustrations arise they cease to be a threat to your well being.