It is awful and intolerable to be frustrated from having things the way I want. If I tell myself that frustration is awful, I’ll only set myself up to get anxious when I think it’s coming – and bitter and twisted when it does happen.
I can’t stand it when people don’t act as they should. I don’t like it, but I can survive it – and survive better when I don’t lose my cool over it.
My circumstances have to be right for life to be tolerable. It is disappointing when things aren’t the way I’d like them to be, but it is not awful — and I can stand less than the ideal.
Because I can’t stand being frustrated, I must avoid it at all costs. Total avoidance would mean a very restricted life. Though I don’t like frustration, I can tolerate it.
How to raise your tolerance for frustration
Know when you are engaging in LFT behaviour. Keep a log of such behaviour for several weeks or longer. Watch for things like overusing drugs or alcohol, compulsive gambling, shopping, exercising, or bingeing on food, losing your temper.
The technique of exposure is an important way to increase your tolerance. Make a list of things to which you typically overreact – situations, events, risks and so on. Commit yourself to face at least one of these each day. Instead of trying to get away from the frustration as you normally would, stay with the frustration until it diminishes of its own accord. You might, for instance, go without desserts for a while, have two beers instead of four, leave the children’s toys on the floor, or the like.
Another useful technique is rational self-analysis. Analyse your frustration – while you are feeling it, if possible, otherwise, as soon as possible afterwards.
Other techniques you may find helpful are rational cards, the catastrophe scale, and reframing.
Moving from LFT to high frustration-tolerance
To raise your tolerance for frustration, change your view of it. Here is a new belief do help you do that:
‘There is no law which says that things have to be the way I want. It’s disappointing when they are not, but I can stand it — especially if I avoid awfulising about frustration and demanding that it not happen.’