Conquering Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT)
G. L., SMART Recovery Volunteer
“You can’t always get what you want.” – The Rolling Stones
Frus•tra•tion: The feeling one has when reality does not immediately conform to one’s desires. Frustration is a normal part of the human experience. It’s unavoidable. And in fact it can be quite useful if the feeling of frustration leads to self-improvement or motivates you to better your situation. Sometimes, however, you can get in your own way by having low frustration tolerance (LFT).
LFT is a widespread phenomenon among human beings. It can be defined as “the demand that you get what you want quickly and without hassle.” Wishing or hoping for one’s desires to sometimes be fulfilled quickly and easily is healthy. Demanding that they must be is not, as the world will not often grant you your wish.
LFT can manifest itself as a cascade of two activating events according to the ABC model:
How do you go from low to high frustration tolerance (HFT)?
By working backwards; start with the awfulizing over being overly-frustrated before working on the demands that lead to over-frustration in the first place.
There are 3 approaches for dealing with LFT:
1. Dispute (D) the irrational beliefs that you hold concerning your demands and awfulizing to come to effective new philosophies (E). Remember to start at B2 first, which is the awfulizing
2. Reframing: Part of what makes LFT tough is that you focus on the negatives of not getting what you want while ignoring the positives of working to overcome LFT. Make a list of the positives you’ll get out of life if you develop high frustration tolerance (HFT). For example, you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want, although not at the pace you want. Make a list and carry it on a notecard. Whenever you feel frustrated, remind yourself of the goods of overcoming LFT as opposed to giving in to it
3. Distracting techniques: if you find yourself stewing in frustrated thought, try distracting yourself by surfing the web or watching television to cool yourself down. This is especially helpful in the early stages of conquering LFT