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Devoting time to strengthening frustration tolerance can enable us to resist negative social-media and technology habits and get started or stick with other activities that will bring us a feeling of accomplishment or joy. Most goals require that we tolerate frustration. Below are a few tips to help you build frustration tolerance and gain balance in the digital age. Accept your feelings of frustration. Frustration is a normal human emotion and reaction to life's unpredictability. It might sound counterintuitive, but the more we fight feelings of frustration, the longer those feelings will linger. Ride it out. Work on being able to ride out feelings of frustration and other negative emotions. Yet in the world of sports, such habits are not merely overlooked but actually encouraged by coaches who are just as fixated on metrics as their athletes. In our mission to be fitter and perform better, it's very easy to go to extremes and lose all sense of moderation. If you're moving most of the day and eating predominantly whole, unprocessed foods, you really need to stop recording every calorie and gram of fat, sugar, or protein, and you shouldn't be relying on an app to estimate the healthiness or unhealthiness of each meal and snack. By following a basic 80/20 approach to activity and nutrition--eight out of ten times you make good decisions--that scoop of ice cream you enjoy once in a while is not going to kill you or prevent you from reaching your goals. Neither should you try to push through an injury or illness to make sure you reach some app-supplied daily target. Doing so is just going to mean that you face a longer layoff. You know it's a bad idea to work out when every system in your body is screaming for you to rest. You just have to start listening to yourself again and stop waiting for a piece of technology to tell you that it knows best. Downshifting For many of us, working out and being active is our stress relief. But what if the dominant story isn't your story? What if you have an eating disorder and you're not a cis woman?

What is your eating disorder narrative? And how do you treat it? What if the roots of your story emerge from the realities of race or poverty, disability or age? Why do we only see images of young cis white women when we discuss eating disorders? As you know, I'm genderqueer. The roots of my eating disorder stemmed from feeling like my body--and how people treated me--did not match my felt sense of gender. My dieting wasn't about trying to gain currency by achieving the female beauty ideal. What I wanted was a masculinized body that would match who I felt I was. Accept that problems are a part of life. Acceptance means knowing our feelings are cyclical and that sometimes the only way through is to ride out the uncomfortable emotions. Being able to sit with negative feelings rather than impulsively react is also helpful for finding effective solutions to the issue that created our frustration in the first place. It's difficult for most people to come up with effective solutions when feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Revisit lessons from past frustrations. Many people underestimate their ability to tolerate frustrating circumstances. Recall difficult experiences from the past that you tolerated, and explore how you endured them. Ask yourself, What did I tell myself that helped me complete these tasks? Find ways to question the validity of your frustration and reframe your negative thinking. For example, I was able to stand this in the past; It helps us forget about work and family problems for a while and lets us physically relax (at least eventually)--or so we assume. Unfortunately, it's not always that easy.

We can have trouble downshifting after intense activity, and we can create both physical and psychological stress through our workouts. De-stressing is crucial but is becoming increasingly difficult because we rarely disconnect and make a conscious effort to do what yoga expert Jill Miller suggests and turn on our off switch. In fact, many of us don't even know how to do this, or why technology is making downshifting more difficult than ever. The Hunt and the Nap When they're hunting or playing, animals go all-out and then lie down to rest or nap immediately. Male lions take this pattern to the extreme, sleeping up to twenty hours a day. The key here isn't the amount of time spent resting but the way that a wild predator, or even your pets, can go from running and jumping at full speed to relaxation in moments. Contrast this to our inability to downshift adequately after activity. I wanted to do away with the breasts and broad hips that led people to treat me as a woman and stopped me from wearing the clothes I liked. I wanted to look down and see a body that looked like how I imagined myself. Because the story of where eating disorders come from didn't align with my experience, neither did the solutions. Based on that misunderstanding, my route to healing was more circuitous, painful, and prolonged than it should have been. Only later in life, when I could better construct my own narrative, did I start to understand the challenges and complexities that blocked my path to embodiment. I've heard a similar story from Gloria Lucas, a community organizer and founder of Nalgona Positivity Pride, a Xicana-Indigenous* body-positive organization that provides intersectional eating disorders education and community-based support. Lucas identifies as a Brown woman. The mainstream eating disorder resources and body positivity movements failed her by ignoring the role of colonization, assimilation, systemic oppression, and racism. Her eating disorder played out amid potent messages that People of Color receive about their bodies, that they're inferior, dirty, and unattractive. Mainstream eating disorder thought failed to recognize this. I'll be able to stand it again. Practice mindfulness.

Anxiety makes it harder to cultivate frustration tolerance, because when we're tense, our bodies and our minds are wound up. Mindfulness helps us slow down our mind and body, which is key for learning to tolerate frustration. Some ways to practice mindfulness are to do deep-breathing exercises, be in the present moment, or use imagery. For example, imagine yourself lying in a peaceful meadow or on a beach. You can also download an imagery app to help you. Recommendation #4: Commit to Nondigital Self-Care Practices What's self-care? We're really good at using caffeine, warm-ups, and pre-workout supplements to fire us up, but we're very bad at dowsing the flames. That five-minute cooldown you (maybe) do after your fitness class or run? Not going to cut it. In his fantastic article Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky states that we're looking at the relationship between exercise and stress all wrong. We've been focusing on the stress-related consequences of activating the cardiovascular system too often, he writes. What about turning it off at the end of each psychological stressor? If you are turning on the sympathetic nervous system all the time, you're chronically shutting off the parasympathetic. And this makes it more difficult to slow things down, even during those rare moments when you're not feeling stressed about something. So what can we do to go from a state of high alert during exercise into parasympathetic recovery--that is, to go from the high-alert fight-or-flight state into a rest-and-digest mode? One thing is to incorporate breathing into an extended cooldown, which should consist of five to fifteen minutes of slow activity, such as walking, and a couple of mobility exercises that target the major muscle groups you just stimulated. We have been left with no other option but to create our own opportunities of representation and healing, Lucas writes, explaining her motivation for founding Nalgona Positivity Pride. Young, straight, cis, white women are not the only ones who experience eating disorders.

They're not the only ones who suffer from fatphobia and discrimination. Their experiences are not the only experiences in our community. When only one story runs down the center lane, we crowd out nonmainstream narratives and close the route to healing and belonging for the rest of us. Those whose lives do align with the mainstream narrative are also harmed when we limit ourselves to a menu of healing opportunities based on a narrow, tired interpretation of our lives. BRINGING IT HOME All the self-love and self-help in the world will not erase exclusion. It will not prevent other people's socially conditioned reactions to our bodies and the fact that we're going to find it everywhere we go. Practicing self-love, internally, will not counteract external biases, prejudices, and even outright bigotry. Simply put, self-care is the intentional act of taking time to pay attention to you. I don't mean in a narcissistic way, which leaves us feeling exhausted and empty; I'm referring to the type of self-care that lifts, energizes, and recharges us. Research supports that making self-care a priority leads to greater work-life-technology balance. When we neglect our self-care, we are more vulnerable to feeling stressed-out, depressed, and anxious. We're also more likely to abuse substances, overuse technology, and have a lower sense of personal agency. I believe a good way to find balance in the digital era--in addition to making sure we exercise, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night--is to tend to our emotional, spiritual, and cognitive needs. One excellent self-care practice is making time to connect with nature. In our digital age, being outside and spending time in natural settings is becoming more and more of a luxury. But studies are showing that time away from natural settings is taking a toll on our emotional and physical health. Kelly Starrett's article Becoming a Supple Leopard; While you're doing this cooldown and mobility work, focus on returning your breathing to normal.