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?