When you are frustrated, do you react with a fight reaction or flight reaction?
Physiologically, frustration is associated with high levels of arousal or activation of the acute stress response or the fight-or-flight system. The fight-or-flight reflex enables us to respond quickly to perceived life-threatening situations by either fighting off the threat or fleeing to safety. And yet, frustration can also be motivational; it challenges individuals to be more adaptive so that they can address and reduce a threat or stressor.
On a practical level, I think of frustration as a combination of anger and disappointment. Generally speaking, people with the greatest difficulties experiencing frustration are those who were brought up with parents who protected them from sadness or disappointment.
When things come easy early in life, you tend to have fewer experiences of frustration. Consequently, as you age, these experiences feel more difficult to navigate because you didn’t learn how to deal with those feelings before. Regardless, it is important to learn in adulthood.
I often watch people give up and withdraw or else quickly turn towards anger or throw a tantrum when they don’t handle frustration well. Psychology calls this “low frustration tolerance”.
The goal, of course, is to develop the capacity to tolerate frustration so that one can pursue what they desire with greater ease.
This weeks question:
How are you increasing your capacity to tolerate frustration?
What steps are you taking so that frustrating situations don’t inhibit your growth?
I’d love for you to respond on my facebook group!
Join my group on Facebook LOVE MY LIFE and let me know. I’ll post the question and jump on myself to chat and answer questions.
To A Life You Love,
Dr. Joan Rosenberg