Irrationalities Related to Low Frustration Tolerance or Short-Range Hedonism


Holding a strong insistence on going only for the pleasures of the moment instead of those of the present and future.

Obsession with immediate gratifications, whatever the costs Whining and strongly pitying oneself when one finds it necessary to surrender short-range pleasures for other gains Ignoring the dangers inherent in going for immediate pleasures.

Striving for ease and comfort rather than for greater satisfactions that require some temporary discomfort.

Refusing to work against a harmful addiction because of the immediate discomfort of giving it up.

Refusing to continue with a beneficial or satisfying program of activity because one views its onerous aspects as too hard and devoutly believes that they should not exist.

Chomping at the bit impatiently when one has to wait for or work for a satisfying condition to occur.

Procrastinating about doing activities that one knows would turn out beneficially and that one has promised oneself to do.

Significantly consuming a scarce commodity that one knows one will very much want in the future.

From The Albert Ellis Reader


A Belief Pair

High frustration tolerance (HFT) vs. low frustration tolerance (LFT): High frustration tolerance beliefs are rational in the sense that they are again primarily flexible and not grossly exaggerated. These beliefs are expressed in their full form, thus: ‘Failing my driving test would be difficult to tolerate, but I could stand it’. The stronger a person’s unmet preference, the more difficult it would be for her to tolerate this situation, but if she holds an HFT belief it would still be tolerable. In this sense, an HFT belief is consistent with reality. It is also logical since it again makes sense in the context of the person’s preference. Finally, like a preference and an anti-awfulizing belief, it is constructive since it will help the person take effective action if the negative event that is being faced can be changed and it will encourage the person to make a healthy adjustment if the situation cannot be changed.

Low frustration tolerance beliefs, on the other hand, are irrational in the sense that they are first and foremost grossly exaggerated. They are couched in such statements as ‘I can’t stand it. ‘I can’t bear it., ‘It’s intolerable. When a person has a low frustration tolerance belief, she means one of two things: (i) she will disintegrate or (ii) she will never experience any happiness again. Since these two statements are obviously untrue, an LFT belief is inconsistent with reality. It is also illogical since it is a nonsensical conclusion from the person’s implicit rational belief (e.g. ‘Because it would be very bad if I failed my driving test, I couldn’t stand it if I did fail’). Finally, like musts and awfulizing beliefs, it is unconstructive since it will interfere with the person taking effective action if the negative event that the person is facing can be changed and it will stop the person from making a healthy adjustment if the situation cannot be changed.

From Brief Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by Windy Dryden


Examples of Rational Beliefs (RB) to Dispute (DIB’s) Irrational Beliefs (iB) of LFT – Low Frustration Tolerance and Procrastination

Low Frustration Tolerance

1. (RB) I don’t like existing conditions.
(iB) Existing conditions must be changed to give me what I like, otherwise I can’t stand it and I can’t be happy at all!

2.(RB) I would like immediate gratification.
(iB) I must have immediate gratification and have to have it, or else I can’t stand it and my life is awful!

3.(RB) I find hassles and frustrations inconvenient.
(iB) I can’t stand hassles!

Procrastination and Avoidance

1.(RB) I want to put off doing what I had better do because I want to do something else right now.
(iB) I must have immediate gratification, and therefore have to put off doing what I’d better do right now.

2.(RB) I want to avoid what I had better do right now, because I temporarily don’t feel like doing it.
(iB) I shouldn’t have to do what I don’t feel like doing, therefore I won’t do it, even though I would gain by doing it and lose by not doing it.

3.(RB) I don’t feel like doing what I had better do.
(iB) Therefore, I can’t stand doing it and won’t do it.

4.(RB) I don’t want to do what I agreed to do, so I’ll put it off as long as feasible.
(iB) Since I shouldn’t have to do what I agreed to do but dislike doing, I’ll look for excuses to deceive myself and/or others and “prove” that my delays are honest and justified.

5.(RB) (a) It would be better if I did this task well.
(b) However, if I did it, my performance might not be as good as I would like it to be, so I prefer to wait until I can do it better.
(iB) I must avoid a bad performance at all costs, so I’ll wait until I know I can perform well. Otherwise, I will show up as an incompetent boob, and I can’t stand that!

6. (RB) I want people to think well of me, and they might not, if they know about my defects.
(iB) (a) I must have people think well of me. How awful if they don’t!

Excerpt from the Albert Ellis Reader



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