Frustration Tolerance

Everyone has experienced frustration at some point in their life.The funny thing is that many many people do not understand how to handle their frustration. So today I’d like to write about something I heard from a psychiatrist called Frustration Tolerance. Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines Frustration Tolerance as “the level of a person’s ability to withstand frustration without developing inadequate modes of response.”

This basically means dealing with you disappointment, anger, and frustration in a healthy way, i.e. not turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, food, etc. to heal your wounds. Doing these things just makes the problem worse.

So how do we get over our frustrations in a healthy way?

1. Recognition of the frustration

2. Analysis of the frustration

3. Development of frustration management skills

4. Application of frustration management concepts

5. Getting feedback to improve your management skills

In this process we learn an awareness of the scope of our frustration problems; the implications of our actions; personal competencies that we can use to deal with the frustration; the coordination between how we think, feel, and behave; self-inquiry; delaying gratification; and adding fresh ideas to our frustration management skills.

By improving our ability to tolerate and to manage the inevitable frustrations that enter our lives, we increase our chances for having more time and energy to do the things we most want to do: to build a sense of relaxed self-confidence and to feel a sense of command over the course of our lives. But if frustration starts to inhibit our enjoyment of life we need ways of coping with our frustration

While we may categorize frustration-tension (a feeling) as neither positive nor negative, how we create and respond to the tension may prove beneficial or dysfunctional. For example, an optimal and realistic frustration or tension can motivate positive action. On the other hand, a vague negative attitude can cause tension, promote intolerance, and lead to dysfunctional behavior.


Some process or episode frustrations can feel so uncomfortable that we want to avoid them. But in order to rid ourselves of frustrating feelings, we must also rid ourselves of all wants, wishes, and ambitions—an impossible task! Human beings really are social animals, and I belive emotion is vital for our survival.

Of course, we might consider self-isolation as a solution for avoiding frustrations. But isolation can add to tensions and frustrations. For example, in sensory-deprivation studies at McQill University, research psychologist W. Heron paid students to do nothing. Although the students initially liked the idea, they all got bored and tried to find ways to entertain themselves. Few stuck with the experiment beyond twenty-four hours, although they had originally volunteered to stay longer. Evidently, the students’ attitudes about getting paid for temporarily living in isolation changed significantly as a result of the experience.

In conclusion, we need to healthily adress our frustration and not try to ignore it or cover it up with drugs, alcohol, etc. There are many simple lifestyle changes we could make , such as diet and excercise and getting a good sleep, that can lessen your frustration and give you the ability to to be more tolerant. Hiding from our problems never solves anything, and it’ll only come back to bite later.


4 thoughts on “Frustration Tolerance

  1. Pingback: Calibrate the forces in your life « A Friend to Yourself

  2. Pingback: social animals and cultural evolution of herds « the magic of language blog: partnering with reality – by JR Fibonacci

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