I have what might be politely termed a “low” frustration tolerance. Ridiculous labmates, pet excretions, cell phones left behind at work when you really need to call your grandmother, all (depending of course upon my current level of hunger/exhaustion) can leave me doing some combination of cursing and crying. This behavior is neither pleasant to be around nor pleasant to do. When I act this way, I feel like a child, crazy, or both: a crazy child. In discussing my inappropriate reactions with my counselor, she recommended a mantra.
I’ve used mantras before, as a way of redirecting thought patterns, but this is one of the best ones I’ve ever used. When I say it, I say the first line on an inhale, the second on an exhale, the third on an inhale, the first (again) on the exhale, etc. The separation of the lines so that I don’t say the same thing on the inhales and exhales really helps me focus on the mantra. It requires enough thought that I have to focus on it and usually can’t keep focusing on whatever is pissing me off. The combination of breathing and this mantra have (in a week and a half) gotten me to a much better place with several frustrations in my life.
I know that frustrations come in waves for me (everything comes in waves for me), but at least I know that the next time I’m in a trough that I have a tool that can help get me through.