Saturday, September 8, 2007

Low Frustration Tolerance

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes the following about low frustration toleration:

“You assume that you should be able to solve your problems and reach your goals rapidly and easily, so you go into a frenzied state of panic and rage when life presents you with obstacles. Rather than persist patiently over a period of time, you may retaliate against the “unfairness” of it all when things get tough, so you give up completely.

I also call this the “entitlement syndrome” because you feel and act as if you were entitled to success, love, approval, perfect health, happiness, etc. Your frustration results from your habit of comparing reality with an ideal in your head. When the two don’t match, you condemn reality. It doesn’t occur to you that it may be infinitely easier to change your expectations rather than to bend and twist reality.”

My big take away here is that your day-to-day frustration depends on your tolerance level. The more you can tolerate the less frustration you will feel.
I think the key here is resetting your expectations and using selective intolerance. If there’s certain things you can’t change, you’re better off resetting your expectations. For things that you want to improve, you can lower your tolerance. In raising your standards though, and setting more rules, it’s important to know that frustration comes with the territory. The trick is to then turn that frustration into motivation, action, and results.

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