To Be Happy, You Have to Raise Your Frustration Tolerance


A low frustration tolerance can cause unhappiness and a bad mood in a lot of situations. One of the keys to feeling good is improving your frustration tolerance.  Improving your frustration tolerance helps improve your mood.  You can be happy and find happiness in a lot more situations simply by improving your frustration tolerance.  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.

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes about improving low frustration tolerance to improve your mood and feel good.

Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:

  • Crossed-expectations leads to frustration.  It’s easy to get frustrated when your expectations aren’t met.
  • Avoid entitlement syndrome.  A sense of entitlement can lead you on a downward spiral of crossed-expectations.
  • Change your expectations over bending reality.  It’s quicker and more rewarding to change your expectations rather than try to bend reality to meet your expectations.
  • Account for the obstacles in life.  Simply buffering for, accounting for, and expecting obstacles, hurdles and humps can help improve your mode and deal with the day to day realities of life.

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.

Change Your Expectations Over Bending Reality
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.”

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