We all experience these feelings at one time or another. You feel frustrated when your business does not pick up as you expected, your boss does not recognize your efforts at work, or when you are suddenly not connecting with your spouse.

You are not alone.

From simple situations like misplacing a pair of earrings or car keys to major ones like losing your job or your business falling apart, frustration walks among us. Unfortunately, the more prone you are to frustration, the more likely you are to become a victim of chronic stress.

The same is true when you are repeatedly overwhelmed and unfulfilled. Maybe your relationship, job, church or circle of friendship no longer brings you happiness and you constantly feel the need to leave. Or you feel as if you are drowning from too much pressure in your day-to-day activities. This is a sign of overwhelm and unfulfillment, which if not addressed, will affect your well-being negatively.

Luckily, there is a solution that can lessen this state of being frustrated, overwhelmed and unfulfilled all the time. The solution begins with identifying the problem. Useful questions to ask yourself include: “What is causing me to feel these negative emotions?” “What can I do about it?”

By understanding the causes, you can embark on a journey towards emotional healing. You can’t do this before you first understand what it is that keeps you frustrated, overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

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10 habits that lead to frustration, overwhelm and unfulfillment

1. Always seeking validation

Many people tend to seek permission from others when thinking of taking certain actions or contemplating decisions. This is an occurrence that’s backed by science, which reveals that the part of our brain related to reward is energized when others agree with our own opinions, and vice versa.

You’ve probably sought validation from others consciously or unconsciously. For instance, can you remember a time you wanted to go on a date with someone you met but you weren’t sure about what to do?

What did you do? You probably called up your closest friends or sibling and told them about what you were contemplating. You then proceeded to ask if they thought it was a good idea. Finally, you made a decision based on their response(s).

While it’s okay to share your thoughts with the people closest to you, constantly asking others what decision they think is appropriate will only work against you. After all, in the end, you’re the one that will live with the result whether you take action or not.

Related article: Personal Development Skill #1: Confidence

2. Complaining

Every one of us is, or has been, a victim of complaining. You want to get your Pizza faster than everyone else so you complain about how slow the service is. When trying to make it to a meeting across town, you find a traffic jam and complain about it. Your spouse bought you flowers on Valentine’s Day but didn’t include a gift, so you call your friends to complain.

The result is a bad attitude that drives the people around you farther away. You also end up constantly frustrated because things never seem to work your way. Instead of complaining, focus on establishing new tricks to deal with daily inconveniences and disappointments. You can take 10 minutes to meditate, count 1 to 10 when you feel like complaining, or even say a short prayer.

Related article: Becoming Solution-Oriented

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3. Blaming others

This is the constant classic. You have probably blamed someone this week, if not several people. From being stuck in traffic and blaming matatu drivers, being late for church and blaming your husband or kids for taking too long, to blaming your failed progress on people who’ve hurt you in the past. We’ve all blamed someone.

Yet, sometimes the blame lies solely with the people we decide to assign blame. But will blaming others ever solve the problems you have? The answer is no.

Also, expecting people who have wronged you to apologise or change the outcome will never happen. This will not help if you can’t solve the problems,

Instead of blaming others, seek fulfilment by accepting your part of the blame and focusing on the next best thing. As Jack Canfield teaches in the book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, the ability to take 100% responsibility for your life and the results your life has given is the first step to positive change.

Take responsibility for your life and stop complaining or blaming others people for your lack of success. Make a commitment to take action on your goals so that your life improves to match your dreams.

4. Procrastination

How many times have you postponed saying “I love you” to your spouse or children? Do you constantly postpone work you are supposed to do? How many times have you postponed working on a new business idea, asking for a raise, starting to exercise?

For most people, I would think the answer to these questions is “Many times.” I also bet that you can’t come up with an actual figure.

Procrastination makes you think about something over and over and brings about the pressure to do it. At the same time, it causes frustration when you can’t bring yourself to actually do the things you’re thinking about. Procrastination is an evil that eats up your spirit, consumes your energy and steals your dreams. Avoid it like a plague.

Related article: 5 Steps to Get Unstuck and Live Your Dream Life

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5. Living too much in the future

I’ve been a victim of this nasty habit. Luckily for my happiness and mental well-being, I learnt how to get rid of it. Allow me to elaborate. I live in a one bedroom house. When I moved in about 2 years ago, I only had enough kitchen amenities to make a meal and a mattress that doubled as a bed and sitting area.

At first, I didn’t mind it too much. I was starting out like everyone else and knew that in a few months, I’d buy a couch, bed, TV and fill up my house. I even laid out a plan of where everything would go: the colours of the carpet, TV stand and couch, and the type of bed to buy.

In short, I was winning at building castles in the air.

I refused to embrace the situation I was in and only lived for what would become my new abode.

Two months down the line, I reeked of negativity. From anger, complaining, frustrations, irritation and unfulfillment, I had it all.

And then my friends started pulling away because I was no longer fun to be around. It took an intervention from my brother and another 3 months to realize my problem. To date, I still remember his question. “Kui, kwanini unaishi maisha ya kesho?”

I later embarked on a journey that taught me how to live in the present while still planning for the future. Today, I have found my peace and happiness.

You can get rid of this habit of living in the future. When you live too much in the future, you lose out on enjoying the life you have today. It’s also easy to get depressed if your future dreams are taking too long to materialize.

Related article: 5 Surprising Lessons From My Personal Mid-Year Review

6. Not accepting your past

We all have a past. Some of us accepted the past as it is and moved on to the present. Unfortunately, many people , keep their past close to them. You use it as a reference to explain bad events in your life. It’s also a convenient excuse not to take action to better your life. And so you keep asking God why He’s not changing your life for the better.

Living in your past is as deadly as living in the future. You can’t fully accomplish what you are working on in the present and you will find yourself unhappy most of the time.

By accepting the past as it is and focusing on your present, you tend to discover new things, appreciate existing ones, and find solutions to current problems. An outcome that’s enviable by all.

Related article: 5 Steps to Overcome Failure and Bounce Back

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7. Comparing your life to others

Social Media has enabled everyone to expose their lives to the world. You can tell where someone went for vacation, when they buy a new car and when they get engaged or married. Unfortunately, many people only post the nice photos. Our faces are without blemish, our backgrounds are spotless and the locations are impressive. We post about our acquisitions and when good things are happening in our lives.

It’s easy to get envious about other people’s lives and feel the need to match up to the kind of lives that look better. When someone shares posts from Dubai, you start researching affordable flights and hotels. If it’s too expensive or your time does not allow, you then research on cool places to go on a vacation in Kenya. All so that you too have something to show off to your virtual friends.

It’s not strange then when frustration kicks in because your life situation does not allow you to live this better-looking life. You’ll also have another headache when you get into debt while trying to live a lifestyle that’s beyond your means.

Your life is awesome the way it is. If you want to make it better, work on your goals, dreams and desires. Don’t use other people’s lives as a target.

Related article: Personal Development Skill #3: Take Control of Your Life

8. Lack of goals

Like procrastination, the absence of goals will frustrate and overwhelm you. If you decide to work on something without setting actual goals, you can’t track the progress of what you are doing. You will not know whether your efforts are translating into results, or if you are making any progress at all. It’s also easy to get caught up working very hard on actions that will not lead to the achievement of your dreams.

This then leads you to a state where you keep asking, “Why aren’t things changing?” or “Why am I in the same situation as I was one month ago?

A life without goals will not only frustrate and overwhelm you. It will also leave you unfulfilled and stressed when years pass by and you stay stuck. Identify your dreams, turn them into goals, work on the goals and keep track of your progress every day, week, month and year.

Related article: How to Achieve Your Goals With 90-Day Goal Setting

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9. Allowing fear to lead you

Fear has kept many people from going for their dreams and living better lives.

You have a business idea you’d like to start but you are too afraid. You are afraid to quit your full-time job to venture into business, you are afraid people will talk and you are afraid you will become another statistic of failure. So you end up not starting on the business, you remain at that job you really hate, and remain in an abusive relationship. All because you are afraid.

But for how long will you be afraid? Imagine how much you would accomplish if fear was not an aspect and how happy you would become.

In the book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg asked all women, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Think hard about this question and write down all the things you would do if you weren’t afraid. Pick one of these things and imagine how great it will feel when you achieve it. Then master the courage to actually do it, starting today.

Here are 2 resources you can get today if you’re still afraid to lean into your fear:

Related article: Personal Development Skill #2: Courage

10. Accommodating negative people

Negativity kills relationships and friendships. It overpowers a positive mood and makes your attitude toxic. There is nothing good that comes with negativity. This means that accommodating negative people in your life also affects you greatly. Since research has shown that negativity is contagious, you are bound to absorb this bad trait and lead a more frustrated life.

Look at the people in your circle. Are there people who are constantly negative? Does their behaviour irk you? What then are you doing hanging out with this person or people?

Also evaluate yourself. Are you the one who is always negative? Have you noticed people avoiding you or walking away when you join a group? This reflection is not easy, but it’s necessary if you want to have a happier and more fulfilled life.

When you have your answers, focus on achieving a more positive life. Weed out the negative people and become more positive yourself.

Related article: 8 Toxic Relationships You Need to Detox From

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These 10 habits are by no means new to you. It’s not possible to move through life without indulging in them at one time or another. This is OK. The challenge comes when they become your regular habits. Make the effort to start weeding them out one by one and replace them with more positive and empowering habits. In this way, you will not only improve your life but also positively affect the lives of those around you.

Over to you…

Which of the 10 nasty habits are you a victim of? Is there a habit you are currently struggling with?

Share in the comments below and let’s see how we can help one another avoid these bad habits.

(Image Credit: Sira Anamwong at Free Digital Photos)

    2 replies to "10 Nasty Habits That Keep You Frustrated, Overwhelmed and Unfulfilled"

    • Judy

      Thank you for this wonderful article. I have struggled with fear of stepping out into the unknown. Thank God I finally did. It takes a lot of courage to get into business.
      I am learning to take one step at a time.

      • Selipha Kihagi

        You are welcome Judy and thank you for your feedback. Yes, succeeding sure needs one to take one step at a time. I am happy to hear that you are currently on that journey and that you found this article helpful.

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