How to deal with frustrating setbacks

Julia Marolton 23 February 2022
Woman sat in front of a laptop, biting a pencil in frustration

Things can go wrong all the time. It’s how you deal with it that matters. Check out our advice for dealing with setbacks.

Life isn’t always easy. It can be frustrating, unpredictable, and overwhelming. Knowing how to deal with these obstacles is a key skill for any student. Here are a few things to remember when facing a setback: 

Focus on the end goal

It is easy to get distracted and discouraged by things not going to plan. Because of these distractions, we can lose focus on the end goal and procrastinate. In the face of hard and frustrating times, it is crucial to keep calm and push through. You'll be rewarded for your perseverance.

Indulge in your hobbies and spend time doing things you enjoy with loved ones to find calmness and clarity in challenging times.

Reassess the situation

When something inconvenient happens, it’s easy to let your frustration win. Keep calm and look for other ways to overcome your setbacks. This is essential for reducing stress. Take deep breaths to stay calm and look for solutions.

Setting realistic, achievable goals will prevent you from being overwhelmed. Taking a step back and looking at things from another perspective will help you to tackle difficult setbacks.

The positive side

Whilst setbacks and obstacles are stressful and frustrating, it’s good to be aware of what you’ve learned in overcoming these setbacks. Your ability to recognise when issues might arise, and how you can solve them, is one positive you can take from the experience.

Success doesn’t come easily. Hidden behind the others’ success are the issues they overcame in order to get where they are now. So don’t get deflated when things don’t go to plan immediately.

Don’t compare yourself to others

It’s easy to compare your life to others and dwell on perceived differences between you and everyone else. This is especially true when you experience setbacks while everyone else seems to be moving forward. Comparison can slow down progress.

Taking time out of your day to write down the things you are grateful for is an effective way to train your brain to appreciate the good things in life without comparing yourself to others. It also helps you recognise that the achievements of others don’t reduce yours.

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Julia Marolton 23 February 2022