At some point in our lives, we have all set ourselves a challenge. We have made a great effort, we have decided to postpone other plans in order to have more time and to give this subject all our dedication so that in the end, we do not reach our goals .

It couldn’t be, we lost, we failed. This feeling of failure or even of anxiety can be for some people a simple bump and for others, depending on their point of view, another defeat to add to the list .

If you identify yourself with the second option, I suggest some exercises and tricks that you can practice to improve your intolerance to frustration .

Daily frustrations: starting to accept the situation

We cannot deny that, c hen we feel frustration, the emotions and thoughts that are generated are very intense . The discomfort exists and we feel it as something real, even if we are told that it is just an illusion or that we have an exaggerated attitude, or that we are looking for perfectionism and seem obsessive…

The feeling of frustration is not pleasant, but neither is it unbearable. With the determination that comes from this idea we must change our attitude and our internal dialogue to see for ourselves that these small “failures” can help us to become stronger and more empowered. Thus, the result will always be a better sense of well-being .

Therefore, before starting to manage feelings related to frustration we must recognize and accept that although it may seem obvious, the world does not revolve around what we want, and therefore, it is necessary to assume that we are not going to get everything we want . The best we can do is to think that the long-term rewards are usually more rewarding than the short-term ones, and that is why we must moderate the desire for immediacy and discover that we often settle for less precisely because of that impatience.

Some ideas for managing frustration

The most important thing in a situation that creates frustration is:

  • Not to get carried away by the intense emotions of that moment (frustration, sadness, anger, rage…).
  • Giving us a few moments of pause will allow us to reflect and analyse the situation, so that we can look for alternatives to achieve our goal. In addition, we will recover a calmer and more stable emotional state.

Having understood all the above ideas, we can put into practice different techniques that help increase tolerance to frustration and the ability to cope with situations where our expectations are not met. I propose five very useful ones with good results. Go ahead!

Tips to improve frustration tolerance

The objectives we seek in using these techniques are to be aware of what we feel, to identify the main emotion, what kind of thoughts overwhelm us and finally to enter into a dynamic in which we can analyze our reactions.

1. Key phrase

It is about using a significant self-verbalization that will help us to abandon the thoughts that lead to unhelpful actions and negative moods s , to replace them with others that lead us to face the situation. Using this kind of “reminder”, we focus our attention on the solution of the problem and not on the discomfort.

Look for those phrases in your experiences that have helped you to positivize negative situations, copy them on a piece of paper and remember them in moments of crisis.

2. Give yourself time

It consists of avoiding analysis or reflection until an emotional cooling has taken place .

How can we do it? We can start to do pleasant or enjoyable activities and practice them when we feel bad and opposed. It is not an escape, it is a stop in time, a pause for later, to respond to the demands of the moment in a more adaptive way without frustration limiting us.

3. Technique of the 5 alternatives

Many times, we still choose to achieve our initial goal, even if an apparent failure seems to block our path . Look for five alternatives to achieve a goal, evaluate all its advantages and disadvantages. There is no ideal solution, so we will look for the one with the most advantages or the one with the most bearable disadvantages.

4. Telephone technique

It analyses the situation, identifies the inappropriate behaviour, specifies what has been done well and thinks of an alternative behaviour that includes the positive aspects of the previous inappropriate behaviour . Little by little and in a successive way, you will arrive at an alternative of “optimal” action, since with each change the mistakes made are polished up.

5. Zig-zag technique

It can help us improve our patience and learn to be consistent. People who are intolerant to frustration present dichotomous thoughts (all or nothing, good or bad black or white, perfect or useless). This technique aims to make the person understand that there are ups and downs and nuances in all situations .

The objective is that we facilitate the ends, dividing the goals into subgoals, and taking into account that sometimes we have to go backwards (zag) to continue advancing (zig) towards the final objective. In this way, the achievements are achieved in zigzags with the setbacks seen as opportunities to analyse the situation and reassess the objective. The important thing is that when we experience a setback we should not feel hopeless, but rather keep calm, patience and constancy to continue approaching your goal without letting frustration be a hindrance.

Some final tips

  • Distinguish between wants and needs , as some need to be satisfied immediately and others can wait. We don’t have to become capricious people.
  • Control impulses and assess the consequences of our actions. To do this, there is nothing better than knowing some techniques of emotional control.
  • To be aware that, many times, pain or the feeling of failure has a lot of imagination . We must learn to relativize failures and successes, and notice that our reality is built much more slowly than we would like it to be.
  • Control the environment, avoid things, people or situations that may frustrate us , as far as possible

One last thought

When we are children we learn to tolerate many situations that we do not like, we hear the “no” of our parents and teachers daily and little by little we develop our own tools to fight frustration and know how to manage anger and helplessness. We get older and sometimes as we set our own goals and put pressure on ourselves, we lose perspective and consequently good management of the situation .

But this can be remedied, just as in our adult life we endure without knowing many things that at seven or eight years of age would totally frustrate us. Let’s get to work!