Community, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday sayings – Frustration Tolerance


Everything is a gift of the universe–even joy, anger, jealousy, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.” – Ken Keyes Jr.

Frustration is an emotion that arises from challenges that stand in the way of us achieving our goals. How we deal with frustration depends on how much we can tolerate that discomfort.

Do you give up easily or procrastinate when starting difficult tasks?

If you find it difficult to suffer fools, or become irritated by everyday inconveniences like traffic jams, noisy kids, or waiting in line, you might fall on the lower end of the frustration tolerance spectrum.

People with a low frustration tolerance may often have difficult relationships as they tend to have a short fuse and are easily triggered.

Annan manns lyte er lette å sjå.

The blemishes of another are easily seen.

Swedish Proverb

Signs of Low Tolerance to Frustration

  • Frequent procrastination due to an inability to tolerate the frustration associated with a tough or boring task
  • Impulsive attempts to “fix” a situation due to impatience rather than waiting for the issue to correct itself
  • Exaggerating temporary discomfort
  • Insisting on pursuing immediate gratification
  • Giving up immediately when presented with a challenge or obstacle
  • Growing irritable or angry about everyday stressors
  • Thinking or insisting, “I can’t stand this.”
  • Avoiding tasks that might cause distress


  • Depression and Anxiety lower our frustration levels.
  • Intrinsic personality traits – some have less/more patience and less/more expectations with others.
  • Core beliefs and values may contribute to how each person deals with frustration. Using language such as “It isn’t fair,” or “Life should be easy,” or “Why don’t they just do it.” [this way.]

Changing Frustration Tolerance

Frustration tolerance can be learned. Life will throw some curveballs. Thinking that you have a harder life than most, or are singled out for unfair treatment fuels thoughts that kick off frustration triggers. Sitting with mild discomfort of a distressing thought, for short periods is part of acceptance.

“Why do these things always happen to me! This is horrible.”

Is this something you can change or do you need to change the way you respond?

Can you re-think your attitude, or is it better to accept it and move on?”

Do not Doubt your Ability to Cope

A certain amount of frustration can stem from doubting your inability to tolerate distress. Thinking “I can’t stand to wait in line,” or “I am too old/broken or overwhelmed to try again,” will only increase your frustration. These thoughts do not help or support you and can even stop you from achieving any growth or progress.


Deep breathing is the best instrument you have at your disposal to calm your body.

Breathe deeply and sit (for a short time), with the uncomfortable thought or feeling, before taking any action. Meditation, exercise or muscular relaxation can also assist in calming the mind and body.

We can alter some feelings by keeping it real, more often. Instead of thinking about how “unfair” life is, that it is always going to be bad, we might reduce runaway and triggering thoughts by questioning the reality of what we were thinking. There are going to be difficult moments in anyone’s life.

Like any new skill, dealing with discomfort and thinking more realistically takes practice. A low frustration tolerance doesn’t have to be permanent.

You can take steps which could lead to a more fulfilling life experience.

How do you deal with frustration?


39 thoughts on “Sunday sayings – Frustration Tolerance”

    1. I begrudgingly admit to them too, Lisa and that is why I posted them. I think partly it is personality. It is also something that most people would have at different times of their life. What was interesting for me was how to deal with it and make communication more effective.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Those jobs that sit and sit are hard to find motivation for. They are not interesting and they are not urgent. Then again, once they are done, I often feel better than they are off my mind. That sense of accomplishment at getting a long awaited job done is nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ha ha. Good subject, Amanda! I could write a book on the subject of frustration. I used to live there. 😉 Sometimes I still visit.

    I do walk away from a difficult project on many occasions but mostly I find that a time to catch my breath and see if there is a better way to go at or find out if the directions are incorrect. It often turns out to be both. I can get very frustrated at badly behaved children in public places. It helps if I can walk away. There is no cure for the permissive parenting of strangers. Always glad I don’t live with them.

    On a scale of 1-10, my last husband had me at 15-20 scale of frustration daily. We all know how that ended. If you can’t make it better, move on. All of your techniques are excellent for dealing with short term frustration. Oddly, this lockdown does not frustrate me in the least. It’s a reasonable request for a reasonable purpose. I can make the best of it and grow from it. It’s dealing with unreasonableness that can send over the edge. It means some kind of change needs to happen. Not out there, but internally. That’s where writing comes in. This is a great subject for our time. I have a very long fuse and rarely ignite. I’ve been living with my daughter for a year now after all. 😉 She’s a lot faster to snap so I usually realize it’s not me, it’s something else and I’m the safety valve. Then we sit with tea and get to the bottom of it. Usually work. Have a great week ahead. I have a long list of chores waiting. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is easy to procrastinate when it comes to regular chores like cleaning. I try to have a set day to do this but I am more of a spontaneous person and thus I clean when it is needed. Usually works out to be regular but not a particular day each week. On Frustration:
      “It means some kind of change needs to happen. Not out there, but internally. That’s where writing comes in.” Writing can be so very catharthic in venting emotions in a safe and constructive way. I am still working on not taking things personally if someone snaps at me. It is a lifelong project!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Some great suggestions to deal with frustrations and mental health in general. How do you deal with feelings of frustration in the moment? When you get angry at Mr T’s announcements for example?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Almost every time I read or hear one of Trump’s idiotic proclamations or diatribes, I get angry. Other times I laugh because he hardly ever makes sense. But that he constantly contradicts medical and scientific experts isn’t just ludicrous; it’s dangerous!

        In the meantime, I’ll keep reading and writing. I’m currently reading 4 books, including Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century”, a true historical epic. In the preface, Tuchman admits the initial premise was her interest in the “Black Plague,” which rampaged across Eurasia – beginning in Western China in the 1330s C.E. – and reached into the Middle East, Northern Africa, and even making its way to Iceland. It’s a highly detailed work, but fascinating.

        I might have mentioned another favorite book of mine, Jared Diamond’s “Collapse,” which discusses the impact humans have on their environments. The collapse of Easter Island’s indigenous culture is a prime example of what happens when people exhaust the natural resources available to them. That something similar could occur in our modern societies is unfathomable, but possible – and frightening.

        But the rapid growth of Earth’s population is driving us towards disaster. It manifests itself in pandemics like COVID-19. Epidemiologists are increasingly convinced that particular strain of coronavirus originated in bats – which are a food source for some people around the world. That could only happen in large populations where traditional food staples become scarce. Humans are carnivorous creatures, so in the grips of hunger and famine, they’ll eat just about anything they can.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree, Alejandro. We think we live in this protected civilised society where authorities and Government will protect us and save us in natural disaster and emergencies. In a catastrophic failure of global economic and financial systems, how are we to even get the basics of food? Our plastic credit card cannot be eaten! Farms could be raided and humanity would teeter on a brink. It sounds like an apocalypse but it is absolutely one possible future, that I do hope is not probable.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I have been sketching too lately, Alejandro. What subjects do you like to draw? I used to draw landscapes but now I draw patterns that I turn into fabrics that I sell online.


      1. I’m still developing my overall drawing skills, but I’m concentrating on the human face and figure. I had an idea for a cartoon strip for my blog. I had contemplated just doing it as a standard series, but I realized it would be better as I originally planned: a cartoon. I also want to include drawings in some of my other posts, mainly stories, instead of pulling stuff off the Internet.

        I’m using Rudy De Reyna’s “How to Draw What You See” as a primary drawing reference, and it’s been invaluable. So far, according to De Reyna, I have at least the right basic skills to draw what I see. But I’ll see as things progress. I know I’ll likely never be a truly great artist. Yet, I remain excited by the thought of it all. Life is too short to be conservative and never try something new!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Drawing is very theraupeutic and I think it is a great idea to add graphics/images that you have drawn to your blog. I sketched a few things but believe my strength is in patterns. Having said that, I think I might just add a colouring in pattern to some of my posts. This might lead to my idea of printing a colouring book of traditional patterns one day. Might be a good distraction for some folk stuck at home, if I put it up on pinterest too.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! Thank for stopping by, and the ‘like’. I am in my study right now staring at a pile of procrastination…it’s somewhere on my lockdown list of things to do…and I know I will feel sooo much better afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the secret to feelings of accomplishment aintwegotitmade. Break down a difficult or boring task in to baby steps and then make yourself do it for a set minimum amount of time each day. Otherwise, these tasks begin to haunt us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of this term but it certainly is on full display lately, isn’t it? While I acknowledge I can become frustrated, I don’t dwell on it. I’m more amazed when things go smoothly, than when my efforts are thwarted. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is not a bad stance to take Ally. Frustrations are only transient and focus on the celebration of smooth sailing is like letting go of the negative and focusing on the postive outcomes. A good healthy mental health diet!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. I think we all get frustrated, so managing our reaction is key. I have chased a few windmills in my life on one extreme and have upheld the tenets of the Serenity Prayer at the other. An old friend who counseled teens once said “don’t give your power away. If you do not take offense, you are not offended.”

    Again, great post. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t give your power away – those are words that could help one control their impatience and anger, those almost autonomic reactions that feel uncontrollable. Thanks for those words of wisdom. Did you learn certain things from the windmill chases? If so, can you elucidate more?


      1. Thanks. A colleague called me Don Quixote. On several occasions, I was trying to save people’s jobs in a matrix managed organization. I was on the dotted-line side, meaning I only had input. Out of about a dozen folks, I was able to save one and get one extended, but mostly failed. The one I saved is still there twelve years later.

        This windmill chasing actually got me in trouble, so when my boss alerted me, I said if i felt you were being laid off, I would fight for you. What did I learn? Sometimes, you have to try, but I should have held off on a few.

        Thanks for asking. Keith


  5. A great quote, Amanda, even though I would prefer the positive gifts. “Discomfort” is an interesting word. It possibly suggests ‘temporary’ and ‘we can overcome the challenges.’

    A thought-provoking post. You make me think of the concept of “grit” and how different personalities do have more of an ability to cope. The sentence that gave me immediate goosebumps “Deep breathing is the best instrument you have at your disposal to calm your body.” Always a good reminder.

    Great post, Amanda! Our mental health is always important, especially now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks so much Erica/Erika! Do you prefer one or the other spelling? I love that the Deep breathing comment resonated with you, because it is so true. If we can remember to take in that big swig of Oxygen for our brains, it can help immensely, allowing our body to work in optimal blood pressure and pulse rates. All my yoga practices over the years reinforced such thinking.
      Re discomfort : I agree – it suggests a feeling of a temporary nature for nothing is permanent in life. We are surrounded by change. Good times pass by, and we can enjoy them while they last. In the same way bad times are also something that is rarely static. When things are bad, it doesn’t mean we give up and think it will always be bad. Preferring the postive gifts, is exactly one way we can focus on what is possible in a time of misfortune, rather than wallowing on what we cannot change. Like the lock down scenario. Those who are coping best are those who are finding other things to do within their own home.
      Those who struggle with external stimulus for entertainment will have the biggest battle in coping, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I usually use Erica. I found out later in life my actual name is Erika. I wrote a post about it last year. Almost everyone has a story behind their name. Some people in the blogging community call me E/E. Happy with all.🙂

        You are right on how both the good and the bad pass by. I am trying to stay present, yet I do wonder how people will continue to cope in the future. I have read how some people still think of this period as “a snow day.” I am busier than ever with my projects. My negative is not spending time with my children and grandchildren except over Zoom and video chatting. We had the privilege of seeing them a few days a week. Thankful everyone is happy and healthy. Continue with the “positive gifts,”Amanda. Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You sound like a positive person, E/E or Erica. Can you direct me to the post about your name. It would be interesting to read, as Erika is a Scandinavian form of spelling. I have heritage in that part of the world too. I changed my name slightly too. So I can relate somewhat. A snow day is not something I can relate to, living in the sub tropics, but I can guess what you mean. I have just today, taken leave from work, A test run at retirement if you will.
          Sad that yo can’t see your grandkids, Nothing like a Mum/grandma cuddle reading a storybook with kids. I miss that now that my kids are all adults. What are your projects you are working on at present?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Amanda, Here is the link on why the two names.

            I am also curious on your original name and why the change? A “snow day” here is a common term, yet, Australia has rare snow days. Congratulations on your test run at retirement. I suspect you will Ace it! Numerous projects around here and trying to keep mentally and physically healthy. Do your adult children live nearby? Knowing our children are happy and healthy is always a priority. Take care and we will stay connected.


            1. Well now that is an interesting post. I used to be called Mandy, but I felt I got too old for that name. It sounded babyish to my ear, or perhaps I had just heard it too much over the years. My mother used to shorten it to “Man,” – which sounded weird to others. I am often mistaken for Samantha too. When I say, It’s Amanda – on the phone, if the connection is bad. Funny!
              I like the older names that were doubles. Norwegian names are still often double names. Eva Marie, Else Marit, Maj Britt, Anne Brit etc I also like it if the family continue traditions of older names from previous generations – not all our family names are suitable for that. Danish friends have middle names that are in the family since Viking times, as you can own a certain name there and no one else can use it without permission.
              My adult kids are all in the same locality – but as Australia is a wide place, that could mean driving up to an hour or so. Thankfully we see them fairly regularly up till now. My parents are still alive but it is a three hour trip to go there and back.
              And you are a Grandma! Wow, that is great! Lucky you. Do you get to see your grandchild/children regularly? Nothwithstanding the current crisis?

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I find I usually learn a great deal from the comments. This was definitely the case with the names post. Fascinating about Danish names carried forward from Viking times and owning the name. New information for me.

              We used to watch the grandchildren two days and sometimes more a week and they were/are very much a part of our lives. Of course, they still are with video chat and Zoom. We are all on board with social isolating/distancing to keep everyone healthy. I definitely still count my blessings. Thank you for sharing, Amanda, and we will stay connected.🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I know of a few people that are communicating with their kids via video channels. I tried it with my kids in a three way conversation but there was an annoying echo which stilted the conversation, so I gave up on it for a while. I will try again later. Still, any communication is better than none in these times. It must be especially nice to continue your connection with the kids as they grow up so very quickly.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree, depending on the person, relaxation can be learned. But during my recovery, I’ve learned imbalanced hormones also cause frustration.
    The tickling of a clock, the drip of water, songs that repeat the same three words 10,000 times drove me crazy. They don’t bother me as much now.
    I wasn’t an angry person. For the most part, I was patient, but there were things and times when I would suddenly be angry. Which surprised me. I didn’t understand where it was coming from.
    As I continued to read, I saw myself and my attitudes, and me as a person started to make since.
    As I’ve been healing, I’m far less aggravated with life.


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