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Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT).

Discussions on "Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT)." in "Psychological Problems" forum.

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    Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT).

    Coping with intolerance

    Life is not a bed of roses. All of us face challenges and stress daily due to our work, relationships, health or financial reasons. The question is, how do we to cope up with these issues that often plague us. There are some people who live each day to the fullest, while some groan about their daily trials and tribulations all the time. It's human tendency to complain, but whining all the time makes life difficult. And the 'whiners' suffer from Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT).

    What is it?
    Individuals with low frustration tolerance are those who have been brought up to believe that they deserve comfort and pleasure all the time. They are unable to control immediate gratification for any long-term gain. They are impatient and cannot remain calm and let a difficult situation turn into a more favourable one.

    Psychiatrist Dr Bharat Shah says, "They are often heard making statements like, 'I can't stand/ bear it' or 'It's intolerable'. They have false beliefs that if their actions or plans won't fructify immediately, they will not succeed or be happy again." He says that frustration is more likely to occur if a person feels publicly insulted or is caught in his/her own conflicts or his self-esteem is hurt. For example, a person who is angry with his boss' arbitrary ways and wants to confront him, cannot, because he is afraid that his career may get affected.

    Why does it occur?
    There are various reasons for an individual to develop LFT. Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Anjali Chhabria mentions the following reasons:

    Depression :
    When a person is undergoing depression, the person may have lost interest in things, and his/her attitude towards life is generally negative. Such individuals tend to withdraw and become aloof rather than take proactive steps to deal with the stressful situations.

    Anxiety :
    The main symptoms of anxiety include fear, panic and restlessness. These symptoms inhibit the person from taking up challenges and working towards their problems, making them low in frustration tolerance.

    Personality types/disorders :
    Certain personality types or disorders like dependent, avoidant personalities also have been observed to be an important reason why an individual has low frustration tolerance.

    Individuals suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are restless, hyper and impulsive. Thus, automatically their tolerance level is low.

    In LFT, individuals' view of the situation is distorted and they interpret the situations based on their experiences and emotions, sometimes to the extent of catastrophising situations. They negatively magnify the situation. Clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist Neha Patel says that LFT magnifies negative emotions and lack of patience, which becomes a major road block in life. Escaping from seemingly difficult life situations prevents individuals from growing and chains them into a 'comfortable' lifestyle.

    As for relationships, she says that individuals with LFT tend to focus on negative aspects of other people. This blocks the ability to accept and be accepted by others. This creates a lot of stress in relationships, especially with spouses. They perceive themselves to be always right and ignore other people's views. This leads to friction within interpersonal relationships.
    On the work front, LFT leads to lethargy and procrastination. The lack of discipline that is caused by LFT blocks the individuals from completing their work within the stipulated time. Professional growth is difficult with such attitude, and individuals are left with below-average work and thus a below-average lifestyle, which in turn leads to more stress. Long-term professional goals and rewards are negated by the focus on short-term discomfort.

    How to cope
    As LFT involves a lot of irrational thoughts and beliefs, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy are widely used by therapists. The therapy includes treating the results and effects LFT has on the individual and turning LFT in to HFT (High Frustration Tolerance), so that the individual learns to use better coping mechanisms, says Dr Chhabria. She mentions some quick self-help tips:

    -Try to analyse your thought process during stressful situations and reason out with your thoughts.

    -Know when you are engaging in LFT behaviour. Maintain a diary to keep track of such behaviour. Make a list of things to which you typically overreact. Make a commitment to yourself to face at least one of these each day.

    -Watch out for things like drugs or alcohol, compulsive gambling, shopping, exercising, or bingeing on food and losing your temper.

    -Instead of trying to get away from frustration, stay with it until it diminishes of its own accord.

    -Meditation and yoga also seem to help reduce fears, anxiety and stress which inhibit a person having LFT.

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