What are the biggest frustrations about aging

Frustration: where it's coming from and how to break it down

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What is frustration?

The term frustration (English = "frustration") comes from the Latin from "frustra" = in vain or "frustratio" = "deception of an expectation". Psychology knows frustration as "a feeling of disappointment and powerlessness that occurs when an expected, planned or hoped for happening, event or the like does not materialize or takes place completely differently than intended."

Linguistically interesting, frustration is synonymous with a trigger, for example a rejection, a damper, a defeat, a blow or a negation. Mostly, however, frustration means the feeling of rejection resulting from this event, i.e.: anger, bitterness, disappointment, resentment or hurt.

This disappointment can have different causes. For example, someone may have grossly overestimated himself and his abilities. As a result, immense expectations build up, which lead to disillusionment if they are not fulfilled. The expectations of others can just as well be far too high. If they are disappointed, it can lead to frustration.

Psychology studies frustration in children

Everyone has certain needs and drives that motivate their actions. Viewed against a psychoanalytic background, frustration is the emotional consequence of a prevented drive reduction. All efforts were in vain, and it is not uncommon for external circumstances to lead to it. In the general context, psychology sees frustration as the mirror of an actual or at least a perceived disadvantage.

In other words, it is up to a person whether or not they are frustrated with something, no matter what has happened. Values ​​and feelings such as a sense of justice and one's own expectations play an important role here.

Psychology not only observes differences in the perception of frustration, but also in dealing with it. Early observations of frustration in children in an experiment by psychologists Roger Barker, Tamara Dembo, and Kurt Lewin led to various hypotheses. In the experiment carried out in 1941, children were put in a room full of interesting toys. While the control group was allowed to follow his impulse and play, the researchers prevented the children in the experimental group from doing so with the help of a wire mesh. However, the children could watch their peers play.

It was only after a long time that they were allowed to play with it as well. As a result of this experiment, it has now been observed that many children vent their pent-up frustration by deliberately damaging the toy.

Does frustration automatically lead to aggression?

Dealing with frustration in children naturally raises several questions: Is aggression the natural consequence of experiencing frustration? For a long time, at least, this view was represented in the so-called frustration-aggression hypothesis. According to some observations, frustration and aggression are mainly related when the frustrated person does not see the reason for the disappointment in himself, but blames others for it. This is exactly what can be observed when a scapegoat is sought or a part of the population is labeled a scapegoat.

Conversely, aggression was also interpreted as an expression of previous frustration according to this hypothesis. However, this is by no means the case with everyone. Not everyone passes their own mistakes on to others. So enough people take responsibility for their actions. On the other hand, the frustration does not automatically lead to the fact that even the unreasonable ones behave aggressively.

These facts led to the rather popular notion that frustration and aggression are dependent on one another, ultimately falling into shape. Rather, it is now assumed that aggression can be a possible result of frustration.

High tolerance for frustration helps with processing

The degree of frustration tolerance varies among people. That means, depending on how low it turns out, a person can become depressed and demotivated very quickly.

In addition to aggression as a result, frustration can also manifest itself at some point in depression: for example, when the frustration tolerance is very low and how to deal with frustrating experiences has not been learned. This can be reflected in various compensations:

  • Some compensate for frustration with food.
  • Others go into a buying frenzy.
  • Still others drown grief in alcohol.

All of these actions may help overcome disappointment in the short term, but are not long-term strategies and can end in the form of obesity, gastrointestinal problems, financial worries and alcohol addiction.

Some tend to take all failures personally. They despair of it and become bitter. To make this clear: of course, connections have to be recognized and deficits identified. Anyone who applies unsuccessfully over and over again over a long period of time must carry out an analysis, which may end with personal reasons.

This case is not meant, however. Rather, it is about not understanding every turn in life as a hint of fate that wants to "wipe out" one - and only that person - one. Dealing with frustration, defeat and disappointment says something about how resilient you are and is ultimately a decisive success factor.

Often it is not intelligence or vitamin B, but the famous "sticking to the ball", not giving up, biting through, even if it is difficult, that leads to the job being won. You still manage to graduate. Get the last ticket for your favorite band's concert.

5 tips: this is how you can reduce frustration

Frustration isn't exactly a comfortable feeling. It is understandable that the mood of many does not improve when something does not work as expected. On the other hand, it can be stated that frustration is similar to illness and bad weather. After a nasty illness, one's own health is valued very differently again. And just as one is happy about the good weather after a bad weather phase, experiences of success after a dry spell are also something completely different than when a goal is reached without any effort.


There's a reason we have certain goals, hopes, desires. Something appears particularly attractive, offers the option of improvement in some form - the current state is viewed as not very positive. Hence the discontent and displeasure in the face of one's own failure. But try to look at the matter from a different angle: For example, if you have received a job rejection, you may save yourself a move that would have cost a lot of effort and money.


One of the best remedies for frustration is exercise. Especially in the first moment of perceived defeat, some people tend to lapse into pessimistic brooding. The best thing you can do about it is add a serving of happiness hormones. Jogging, walking, but also going for a normal walk helps to clear your head and get yourself thinking about other things.


Failure can be an incentive to try again. Care is required in the case of completely hopeless attempts (examination regulations only allow two attempts). But nobody should just as easily throw the gun in the grain after the first try. Many things - whether it is learning an instrument, athletic performance or other manual skills - can only be mastered through regular training and repetition. Anyone who fails a language test on the first attempt now at least has an idea of ​​what it was and what it will take for the next attempt.


Those who mourn for too long and wallow in their misery are close to the role of victim. This leads to thinking like “I will never make it”, “Something like this always happens to me”, “I can't do anything”. After job cancellations or other depressing experiences, you can help yourself with the 24-hour rule: mourning is allowed, but only to a certain extent, because everything else is not effective.


Some things just can't be changed. You will never become emperor, and it can be similar with a career aspiration: It shouldn't be the basketball star because maybe your knees weren't up to par, your performance fell short of expectations, or you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That may be annoying, but there's absolutely no point in getting upset about it forever. Then you have a source of eternal frustration. Those who accept, on the other hand, open up the opportunity to finish something and concentrate on new opportunities.

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