• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Low frustration tolerance, the invisible but visible epidemic

Low frustration tolerance, the invisible but visible epidemic

Have you ever wondered why people in Nigeria suddenly snap and have violent physical and verbal outbursts in public? Whether it’s a decently dressed man having a fistfight with a bus conductor in traffic, or the market woman who goes berserk in a banking hall demanding for a particular service. These are scenes all too familiar with the everyday Nigerian experience born out of a phenomenon known as ‘Low Frustration Tolerance’ (LFT).

Low frustration tolerance is when an individual has a low frustration threshold. In other words, they are easily frustrated. These frustrations can come from various sources, but they are often everyday inconveniences such as traffic jams, poor network, crowded hospital receptions, lack of portable water, among others. These inconveniences can cause an emotional reaction in someone with low frustration tolerance. As a result, they may react to frustrations by “acting out.” This could involve tantrums, procrastination, or hyperactivity.

Frustration tolerance is a major component of our mental health which serves as an indicator of how well we are able to cope and deal with everyday stress encountered as a Nigerian.

Low frustration tolerance can be a key indicator of a major mental health condition such as anxiety disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression, substance abuse, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Needless to say, low frustration tolerance possesses a great deal of harm to our mental and personal health if left unchecked. So, here are a few useful steps that can be employed in dealing with low frustration tolerance.

Read also: Experts call for promotion of mental health awareness in workplace


There are many signs that a person exemplifies when they have low frustration tolerance. The following is a list of characteristics that signify low frustration tolerance:

1. Expecting instant gratification

2. Ignoring the feelings of other people

3. Avoiding difficult emotions, people, and situations

4. Being quick to anger

5. Irritability

6. Lack of curiosity

7. Outbursts or reactions are not aligned with the situation

8. Impatient with others and situations

9. Engaging in pessimistic view, or awfulising

10. Holding irrational beliefs that are not based on scientific reasoning


I. Accept frustrations and that life won’t always be easy.

II. Positive Self Talk: When frustrating situations happen, and you begin to feel overwhelmed, you can take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that you can make it through these frustrating feelings. Remind yourself that this is only a temporary situation

III. Practice mindfulness. Frustration tolerance is a learned behaviour. Mindfulness helps with being able to slow down your mind and body when feeling anxious. Ultimately, you’ll be in a better place to come up with better solutions to obstacles.

IV. Talk to a mental health professional. Therapy can be a great way to examine and improve frustration tolerance.