Much of the emotional and behavioral issues that we as psychologists work on when helping our patients are related to a low tolerance for frustration.
It is a phenomenon which not only causes discomfort, but also often leads people to self-sabotage, very often to create unnecessary problems.
Fortunately, frustration tolerance is possible: Here we’ll see what it is for, and several key ideas on how to achieve it.
What is psychological frustration?
Frustration is the set of thoughts, emotions and feelings that arise when there is a big difference between our expectations and the consequences of our actions, causing us to have a worse experience than expected. It should be noted that when using this concept, the focus is usually on its characteristics as an emotional response to a situation (i.e. as an assessment of what is happening to us) , and not so much on the literal content of the thoughts that arise in us as we experience this.
This phenomenon can occur at all time scales; both in front of the small events of the day that we have achieved in a few minutes, and in front of the projects on which we have been working for months. And of course, their way of expressing themselves is very varied in terms of degrees of intensity.
On the other hand, in practice, frustration is closely related to other emotional reactions such as anger or sadness, or feelings such as disappointment and guilt, although each case is unique and should not. always be given to everyone at the same time.
So, it’s frustrating how we feel when we then put aside a morning to work when we arrive at lunchtime and see that we’ve wasted time, and that’s also what arises in us when after having invested time and money in a project professionally that we do not reach the objectives that we had set for ourselves in terms of profitability.
Finally, it should be noted that frustration is a complex psychological phenomenon. It is affected by many variables, such as age (tolerance to frustration is absent during infancy and develops at the onset of adolescence) or the existence of psychological disorders, and also influences in it. the context in which we live and our past experiences. However, those who find it difficult to cope with their frustration are not doomed to suffer from this discomfort indefinitely; of psychology, it is possible to learn how to better regulate this emotional response.
The benefits of building frustration tolerance
These are the main aspects in which we see that a good level of frustration tolerance benefits us.
1. It predisposes us to adopt learning habits
To learn, you have to overcome the obstacles of a first training or study session in which you see yourself very far from the goal and you have to adapt physically and mentally to new challenges. For that, those who easily give in to frustration throw in the towel after these first attempts.
2. It makes us better negotiators
In order to negotiate, you have to assume that the other person doesn’t have to be receptive to what we say or suggest to them at the beginning. For that, having a tolerance for frustration helps build consensus by creating a supportive environment.
3. It helps us manage conflict
In the same vein as the benefit we’ve seen before, the frustration tolerance it allows us not to give in to anger how much we meet someone with beliefs or interests that conflict with our own.
4. He protects us from procrastination
Many people get used to dealing with frustration by looking for what gives them immediate relief: not dealing with those tasks or responsibilities, leaving them for “another time.” Not falling into these dynamics allows you to do everything when it hits, And incidentally enjoy better emotional well-being.
5. It allows us to learn from our mistakes
Frustration tolerance also comes with adopt a distant and neutral perspective and take note of what we’ve done wrong to make sure this doesn’t happen to us again.
6. Encourages the establishment of good self-esteem
For all of the above, a good frustration tolerance builds a good level of self-esteem.
What can be done to improve frustration tolerance?
Here are some of the psychological keys used in therapy to get people to form frustration tolerance.
- Use of self-recordings and emotional logs
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Developing mentally healthy lifestyle habits to prevent anxiety
- Social skills training
- Application of action triggers to medium and long term projects
Are you interested in psychological help to manage your emotions?
If you notice that in your day to day life you are having trouble regulating your frustration well or organizing your life and not self-sabotaging yourself, contact us. Fr PSiCOBAi we offer psychotherapies for people of all ages both in the modality for individual patients and in couples therapy sessions. You can count on us in our psychology center or via the online video call format.
- Dollard, J., Miller, NE, Doob, LW, Mowrer, OH and Sears, RR (1939). Frustration and aggression. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Laceulle, OM et al. (2015). Why not everyone gets their fair share of stress: The adolescent’s perceived relationship effect mediates associations between temperament and subsequent stressful social events. European Personality Journal, 29 (2): 125.
- Miller, NE (1941), frustration-aggression hypothesis. Psychological review, 48 (4): p. 337-42.
- Szasz, PL; Szentagotai, A .; Hofmann, S. (2010). The effect of emotion regulation strategies on anger. Behavioral Research and Therapy, 49 (2): pages 114-119.