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Can Anxiety Make Me Feel Frustrated?


We all feel frustrated from time to time, it’s perfectly natural. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want, or they don’t take the direction we anticipated and that can be irritating. However, when we suffer from anxiety, it can feel like we’re frustrated more often than usual.


As with a lot of symptoms of anxiety, the triggers lie within our caveman brain. This is the survival-driven part of our brain that our newer, rational cortex grew on top of. Its primary concern is keeping us alive, so when our brain perceives a threat, it releases these stress chemicals and activates a response called the fight, flight or freeze response. The stress hormone cortisol or the chemical adrenaline are released and this puts our body on high alert, and as a result, our body prepares to either fight, flight or freeze. 


How Can Anxiety Make Me Feel Frustrated?

There’s a few reasons as to why anxiety might make us feel more frustrated that usual, the first being that when our fight, flight or freeze response is activated our body becomes hyperstimulated. When this happens our senses are heightened and because a lot of our non-essential processes are shut down during survival, it can feel like our experiences are happening at a mile a minute. This is especially true of our physical processes as our heart rate and breathing tend to increase. As a result, everything else can feel slow and inefficient, which can be frustrating.  


This hyperstimulation makes us feel more emotional and reactionary, which if we feel like we’re not in control of our own responses, can be highly frustrating. Frustration a lot of the time comes from feeling like we’re not in control, so when our anxiety causes our survival instincts to kick in, our rational thinking takes a back seat and we can’t accurately make decisions or solve the problem you find yourself in – it’s frustrating.


How Can I Stop This Symptom?

As this symptom stems from our fight, flight or freeze response, the main thing that we can do to combat it is to focus on our breathing and allow yourself to focus on the present moment. This should calm our central nervous system, distract our mind from the perceived threat, and deactivate our fight, flight or freeze response allowing our emotional centre to level out, and reduce the risk of overstimulation.


Of course, in order to prevent the symptoms of anxiety occurring in the first place, you need to manage or build strategies to tackle your anxiety. There are several options available including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), mindfulness, medication and group therapy. If you’re unsure, please contact your GP for more information.