How to Feel Less Frustrated by Small Things

By Jessica Hicks
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
March 03, 2023

Living in New York City comes with many privileges—and a fair share of daily frustrations. Among my least favorite are:

  • Missing the subway by a millisecond while making eye contact with a passenger who couldn’t be bothered to hold the door
  • The amount of dog excrement on the sidewalks
  • Groups of people walking three- or four-people-wide along the sidewalk, blocking everyone else's path

But frustrations can be found everywhere, whether you live in the city, suburbs, or a rural area. Usually, we’re able to brush them off. But sometimes, those seemingly miniscule annoyances add up. When they do, a minor frustration can suddenly make our blood boil more than a true grievance.

Why Little Frustrations Can Have a Big Impact

“At a basic level, I find when we’re easily irritated, our biological needs aren't being met,” says Lisa Manca, a licensed professional clinical counselor based in San Francisco. “Maybe it’s food, sleep, or something else.”