Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

The I Stood It Exercise

The I Stood It Exercise is a process for overcoming Low Frustration Tolerance.  Low Frustration tolerance depends on the belief that we can't stand something or it's too much.  This exercise involves carrying through an activity you “can’t stand” and recognizing that it wasn’t too much.


Warning: Folks with a history of mental illness, PTSD, or panic are urged not to use these techniques without a therapist. If you decide to do these processes you will agree to absolve the webmaster, the webhost,, and Steve Mensing of any responsibility for the application or misapplication of these processes. There is always in any process the possibility that someone could experience some discomfort.

Low Frustration Tolerance

Feel the Low Frustration Tolerance (or LFT) fully, and get up and do what you better do no matter how you feel at first. This alters the feeling state fairly quickly. Low Frustration tolerance depends on the belief that we can't stand something or it's too much. The belief gets disproved when we clearly demonstrate to ourselves that we can stand something, that it's not too much. LFT is a fixation, or narrowing of attention, that can't survive in activity. The more you get up and do what you supposedly can't stand, the more LFT loses its power. Action blows it out. Inaction keeps it alive.

LFT can also be a target for processing. However, accept that you have it and it serves a useful function on some level. LFT is often present with compulsions, addictions, panic, and pain syndromes.

Besides direct action, knowing that you can stand anything can help. You might ask yourself, "Can I stand this LFT plagued activity for": (1) A huge cash reward? (2) A valuable chunk of your life is returned to you? (3) Or any other valuable reward you can see. (Your life is spared) If you can stand it for any of these rewards then you can assume you can stand it or it's not too much.

Steps to the I Stood It Exercise

Find an important situation you deem "too much" or "can't be stood" and simply carry that activity through to its conclusion. With this exercise you will prove to yourself that you "stood it". Feel your "I can't stand it" feelings fully and then swing all your attention over to your chosen activity. Here are the steps:

1. Name the activity you believed "too much" or "couldn't stand": _____________________.

2. Set a specific length of time for standing it (some may want to stand the activity from start to finish). The length of time is: ____________________.

3. Recognize your long-term rewards for "standing it". My long-term rewards for staying in there will be: _______________________. (Better quality of life, more self control, etc).

4. Recognize that you can stand it for a large sum of money, your life being spared, or whatever you highly value. If you recognize this, you know then that you can stand it.

5. Do the activity named in step 1 from start to finish.

6. Recognize that you stood it--that it wasn't too much. Know that you regained control over an area of your life. Notice the good feelings you obtained by doing this activity from start to finish. Repeat the activity until you no longer experience Low Frustration Tolerance.

Tips on Low Frustration Tolerance

Working with the Low Frustration Tolerance (or LFT) Personality Cluster can be helpful if we integrate those beliefs. Integrate those beliefs. This can be a form of inoculation. See the Personality Cluster Learn-in for information on identifying and addressing personality traits.

Use future orientation in time questions aimed at changing LFT in situations where you previously have gotten out of there. Ask yourself questions like:

1.      How will I feel a year from now when I stood and maybe found enjoyment in waiting in long lines at the bank? What will I notice first? How will my experience be different? Who will notice first--the teller or Mrs. Patulsko from the 7-11?

2.      After my detox, when the cravings hit, what will it feel like when I've accepted this situation, stand it, and survive it? What will I feel first? Will I express this sense of liberation to my friends? Or just keep it to myself?

Practicing the I Stood It Exercise breaks down LFT and when we do this it tends to leave a callous, a future sense that we can stand future situations.

Intuitive Symbolizer can dissolve these LFT repetitive and intense knots. You intuitively tune into your LFT experience and allow it to make an intuitive symbol. This is integrated, getting at the root structure of that particular brand of LFT.

Eating and sleeping right can help in reducing the opportunities for "I can't stand it-itis" to form. Tired and hungry folks tend to manufacture higher levels of LFT.

You do something you feel shameful about and stand it until it diminishes. Often around shame and embarrassment are lots of LFT.

If you feel overwhelmed you can reach for the Shrunken Head Exercise to quickly reduce flight/fight overwhelm.

Working with the Emo Reviewer or the Emotional Writing Process on memories where LFT happened is a very strong approach that desensitizes.

Keep in mind it's easier to do these so-called difficult or boring tasks when we see meaning, value, and the future good consequences in doing them. Greater pleasant results can often be obtained from doing the unpleasant. Yet realize the unpleasant can be made less unpleasant by not running the LFT trances and their self-defeating evaluations.

Unless something's truly dangerous or self-defeating, see it through until completion. This builds up your tolerance muscle. Notice that everything eventually dies down anyway if we put up with it. A Call to Action can bring us directly into confrontation with LFT.

If you want to strengthen your frustration and pain tolerance choose activities you can't stand doing. The most obnoxious things you can imagine. Make a list of them and do them. Going shopping days before Christmas. Listening to someone obnoxious and boring. Watch a time clock during your least favorite chore.

Imagine what it would be like to:

1. Put up with frustrating experiences to advance toward long-term goals.

2. Take self-enhancing risks without being blown away.

3. Face strong emotions without procrastinating or abusing substances.

4. Let others know what you want or need without being LFTed.

5. Stay focused on projects without being overwhelmed.

6. Take responsibility for things getting done without being caught up in complaining.

Notice the difference between discomfort feeling unpleasant and tolerable against being horrible and unbearable. What makes the differing experience? What compounds the discomfort?

Do we employ rules like:

"I shouldn't have to take unpleasantness."
"Life should be easy and comfortable at all times."

Do you prefer not to face discomfort or do you demand not to face it? Give this some consideration.

Can you recall moments or lengthy periods when you stood discomfort? What helped you do this?

Can you imagine discomfort? Can you turn on more discomfort and then less discomfort? What did you do?

Have fun, Steve

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