Low Frustration Tolerance

This is a very common type of thinking error that lies at the root of many so-called “addictive” disorders. Low Frustration Tolerance arises from the belief that everything in life must be easy, fair, pleasurable, interesting and/or hassle-free. So when we encounter a situation that is not easy, fair, pleasurable, etc., we get frustrated and look for a quick fix to medicate and escape from these unbearable circumstances.

Alcohol works really well for this. The trouble is, if you suffer from Low Frustration Tolerance, then so many things need medicating that you rapidly develop a real substance abuse problem. Why not learn a better way to cope with life’s difficulties?

This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) comes in handy. CBT helps people develop better coping skills by challenging these automatic thoughts about how life must be.

Among the skills we help you acquire are those which replace the “musts” and “should” that are the bugaboo underneath much of our emotional discomfort and dysfunction.

As you can probably tell, when you see it written here, it is sort of silly to feel that everything must be easy, fair and/or…, but we rarely examine our thoughts when we are feeling the consequences of these unconscious beliefs. Consequently, we react to thoughts that don’t make much sense, just as if they were sound and logical. CBT helps us to look at our thoughts and challenge them for rationality and logic. Once you get the hang if the process, it is really easy and fun to do.

We spend a great deal of time helping our clients learn the CBT process, so that they can overcome Low Frustration Tolerance and move on to happier lives. We can help you too.

On Learning Assertiveness the Hard Way

I was talking to an old friend the other day, who had overcome leukemia through stem cell therapy and is now, finally cancer free. He told me being so sick all those years had changed him. I asked him how and he said he is a lot nicer person these days and more patient with others. He had come very close to death several times and yet survived and regained his heath.

He was more aware that people are all struggling in their own ways and he cuts people more slack because of it. He also learned patience. This disease and ultimately the cure were going to happen at the pace they were going to happen, not at his chosen pace.

Charlie also told me that he spends his time differently now. He used to do a lot of things that were just social obligations, not because he really wanted to do them, but because he felt he “should”. He does a lot less of that now. His time is really precious to him and he doesn’t want to waste it doing things he isn’t very interested in or with people he doesn’t really like a lot.

We have noticed that a large number of our clients spend a lot of time doing things they don’t want to, with people they are only marginally interested in and then drinking too much either to alleviate the boredom or passive aggressively to get back at a their spouse who insisted they attend these events. Why not try being more assertive?

I realize that we all have to do some things socially that perhaps we would prefer not to, but your entire social life should not be made up of these types of events. Next time something comes up ask yourself this: If I had 1 month more to live, would I spend my time doing this with these people? If the answer is “No” then decline the invitation and do something fun and meaningful to you with people you love.

No matter how you cut it, life is short. Engage with your life in a manner that is meaningful to you because you aren’t going to get a do-over. And, by the way, drinking too much is not engaging in life. It is waiting to die.