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How to Build a High Frustration Tolerance

Monday, 23 October 2017 18:44 Written by  Jennifer-Crystal Johnson

We all deal with frustrating and sometimes volatile situations and people, and oftentimes the situation can escalate if there isn’t someone there who stays calm and handles things without reacting or freaking out. At first, this may bring to mind situations like in action movies, but it also rings true on a less dramatic and life-threatening front. For example, when standing up for yourself against someone in the workplace who has taken it upon themselves to harass or bully you; this happens more often than we may initially think. In a circumstance like this, you are always faced with the options of either letting it go or doing something about it. And if you do something about it, what will it be? The higher your tolerance for frustration, the more rational your decisions are likely to be. Read on to learn more about raising your frustration tolerance levels.


Before I continue, it is important to note that if you’re experiencing any kind of abuse in the workplace, it is up to you to bring it to the attention of your superior, especially if the harassment is escalating. Speaking out about something like adult bullying or sexual harassment isn’t a crime, so please don’t feel guilty for standing up for your own wellbeing (someone has to, and if not you, then who?). And don’t let anyone else minimize it, either. You know what’s going on; with certain types of people, it’s only a matter of time before something really ridiculous happens.


Now that we have that covered, let’s take a look at a few ways to raise your frustration tolerance levels.


It’s All About Mindset


The first thing you can do to make your life easier and raise your tolerance for frustration is to remember that you have two main mindset choices you can turn to when something is irritating or obnoxious. You can either be annoyed... or you can be amused. Choosing to be amused rather than annoyed works for many everyday situations, and this is especially helpful when you’re dealing with children, family members, or friends whose feelings you care about.


Become An Observer


Becoming an observer of your own life while also being present in it is possible through meditative practice. Once you’ve been meditating for a while, you can carry that meditative state with you throughout your day and use it to practice mindfulness. This allows you to have an “overstanding” rather than just an understanding, meaning that you can see things from many different angles or perspectives. A bird’s eye view, if you will.


Be Mindful Of The Space Between Moments


There is a pause you can take or access between when something happens and your having a reaction to it. If you can access this brief moment between moments, so to speak, then you can literally “think before you speak,” even during a discussion or conversation that is escalating or no longer calm. If you get good at this, you will also begin to get better at diffusing situations such as this by validating the other person genuinely and pinpointing exactly what’s wrong.


Learn To Pick Your Battles & Let Go


Your powers of discernment will be honed over time no matter what, so utilize them! You can also choose whether you are going to participate or not. Sometimes it might be useful to jump in, but other times it’s really none of your business, in which case it might be better to let things play out organically. Of course this depends on the situation, but you may choose to ask yourself what the benefits might be of either decision. Is the battle worth it if you choose to participate? Or is there no point and it’s just a merry-go-round of drama and chaos that is being fueled by more and more reactions to one side of the story or another?


All of these skills are honed when you are faced with challenging situations in your life. Being aware of how you’re handling things can make a world of difference in the way you are around people, not to mention how people are around you. If you’re a loose cannon, people will likely walk on eggshells around you. If you’re a doormat, people will likely treat you as such. It’s up to you to find your happy medium, your middle ground, where you know what you stand for and balance it with compassion and kindness so you aren’t perpetuating unnecessary drama and problems.


Thank you so much for reading! I hope that this article helps you to begin cultivating your resilience. Come back throughout October to read more about resilience and the subset of skills associated with it.



To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:


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