How to stop being annoyed?

What to do when everything annoys. Advice from a psychologist

Do you notice that you overreact to small things? Reprimanding colleagues and snapping at loved ones? Heightened irritability may signal unresolved problems or be a symptom of a disease. In either case, the irritability should be dealt with.

The material was checked and commented by Olga Kitaina – psychologist, founder of the service for the selection of psychologists Alter.

What is irritability

This condition is often described as a mood. In contrast to outbursts of anger or aggression, which are usually caused by specific events, irritability monotonously accompanied by a person for some time. At home, it is called “everything pisses me off.” Even the smallest everyday difficulties or mishaps-an unexpected run out of coffee, a shoelace torn, a friend being late for a meeting-cause a distinctly negative reaction [1] that seems too emotional.

Everything adds up one to one (only in a bad way), one does not expect anything good, and another slip-up is perceived with weary irritation and even grim satisfaction, as it gives one the opportunity to say everything to the first person he or she sees.

Irritability can be experienced by anyone, it is not always a cause for alarm. We can talk about increased irritability, including in children and adolescents [2], if it interferes with normal life: complicates work, overshadows communication with loved ones, deprives the usual joys.

Causes of irritability

They can be divided into two large groups [3]: psychological and physiological. Unfortunately, this division does not give an answer, in which cases it is necessary to go to the doctor, and in which a person can cope himself. The first group includes both temporary stress and serious psychological conditions that require the attention of a specialist, such as bipolar disorder. The second group also includes completely different conditions: sleep deprivation and diabetes, unbalanced diet and toothache. Some conditions can be caused by infections (flu), others by hormonal disorders.

In women, additional causes of irritability may be premenstrual syndrome, menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome and some others. In addition, irritability as a symptom of conditions common to both sexes [4] is more common in women.

In order to provide the doctor with the necessary information already at the first appointment or to cope on your own, it is worth observing your condition. Naturally, provided that you do not feel an attack of pain (e.g. toothache), you do not have a fever or other obvious signs that it is necessary to go to the doctor immediately.

What you can do at home

Whether you go to your general practitioner or a specialist, the doctor will probably ask about your habits, daily routine, diet and exercise, and stress levels. Ask about the diseases of your relatives and the medications you take, because irritability can also be a side effect of taking medications [5].

If you regularly don’t get enough sleep, don’t move enough and don’t follow nutritional recommendations, you’ll have to deal with it. Self-observation can be a base on which it is realistic to build physical and psychological comfort.

It is ideal to keep a diary of emotions and nutrition, to note workouts and sleep times. Brief explanations with probable reasons (both physiological and emotional) will be enough. In order to structure your observations, you can label your state with one of the template notes. This can be, for example, a smiley face or one of the pre-selected words. It is better to keep records in electronic form, so you can quickly print out your notes or send them to your doctor by e-mail.

Psychological causes of irritability

  • chronic stress;
  • Poorly developed skills for coping with stress;
  • Insufficient self-care (not enough sleep, nutrition, time for hobbies and loved ones).

Irritability can also be a symptom of depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other illnesses.

It’s fundamental to understand, are you sleep-deprived or can’t stand being late at all? Is a headache knocking you out or are you tired of your job? These conditions can be intertwined. And only an observation and careful attitude to themselves and others will help you sort it out.

How not to hurt the feelings of those you care about

Honesty – the best policy with yourself and your loved ones. Tell them what you’re experiencing. Not necessarily in every detail – just what you are willing to share and what you feel is appropriate. If you explain to relatives and friends that your irritability is not a manifestation of animosity towards them, but a consequence of circumstances or your internal processes, it will be easier for them to understand and support you. To learn to pronounce problems and accurately identify your condition, it is useful to engage in the development of emotional intelligence.

Psychologist’s commentary

Olga Kitaina, psychologist, founder of the service for the selection of psychologists Alter: “In certain situations, irritability is useful – it signals that our boundaries are violated, our values are threatened, something does not go according to plan. We tend to think of irritability as something bad, whereas anger can be experienced positively as a feeling of vitality and vigor. Irritability becomes a problem when it leads to reactions that don’t match the stimulus, which in turn can lead to difficulties at work or in our personal lives.

Feeling irritable is part of our lives and it’s perfectly normal, but it’s important to remember that certain reactions can be read by others as a violation of their rights and boundaries.

How to cope with irritability: 5 tips from a professional psychologist

I have this problem: periodically overcome by a feeling of irritation and nervousness. Mood changes very sharply, it can be spoiled by a single word, then I repent, but I can at this moment make unpleasant to my beloved person (roughly respond), knowing that he is not to blame. I cannot understand why this happens and where it comes from. I do not want anger inside, I want purity and love.

Answers family psychologist Catherine Burmistrova, author of “Irritability. Methods of overcoming:

You can not just suppress irritability, it is necessary to figure out what situations make you mad, and what you have to do so that this irritability was not destructive to you and your family.

Let’s deal with the first: let’s distinguish five reasons why people are most often irritable:

1. To summarize: annoyance is a reaction to failure. You imagined the situation one way, but it turned out differently – your expectations were not met. You planned to spend a beautiful morning in the park, walking with the family, but the child is capricious, does not want to dress. The same applies to conflicts between parents and children: parents created an image of an ideal child in your head, you itemized his or her life, and their son or daughter chose a different path.

2. they want something from you, demand something, violate your personal boundaries. Your patience is running out, you start to speak in high tones. Irritability here is a defense: so you show your discontent. However, irritation can pass into another stage – anger, and if the situation will drag on – even into hatred.

3. The situation of systemic overload: you do not get enough rest, you work at an uncomfortable pace, simultaneously performing several tasks.

4. You have a sedentary job, you have no opportunity to go out for air, you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t eat in time. All this causes irritation – an immature, primal reaction to an imbalance of the body’s basic resources.

5. Disappointment or resentment, a breakdown, a crisis in one area of life flowing into another, is a characteristic of displaced anger. For example, a person has a stressful situation at work, there he holds back, but at home he pours out all his accumulated irritation on his wife and children. Or a wife, having quarreled with her husband, takes out her anger on the first person she meets.

Irritability may be due to one reason or several, expressed in different ways.

This reaction of rejection is most often directed at our neighbors. We snap at those who are dear to us. The most spontaneous, sincere and uncontrollable feelings we pour out to family or friends. This is due to ambivalence, the dual nature of close relationships, where feelings can oscillate between two poles – from strong love to equally strong hatred.

So what to do? If you are annoyed with your neighbor, but not happy about the fact that you are experiencing such feelings – break contact, go into the next room, stop communicating for a while. Such feelings are not related to your basic attitude toward the person – you love him or her, but at the moment you are angry at him or her. If the child is hovering over homework, your husband doesn’t hear your requests to fix the shelf, don’t snap – stop the emotion and wait out the moment.

Try to understand why you are now more irritable than usual, and what could be behind it? Sometimes increased irritability is associated with serious health problems. There are diseases in which irritability is a side effect, such as hypertension or diabetes. A pregnant woman with severe toxicosis is also terribly irritable, and for her it is a normal state at the moment.

But if you feel that irritability becomes a system, not the exception, but the rule, an elevated tone of conversation becomes a habit – it’s a signal that you need to seriously address the problem and restore the harmony of your inner world, otherwise it will go to your detriment. For example, a mother knows that you can not raise your voice at the child or that irritation is a sin, but she can not restrain herself. It makes her suffer because she is not what she wants to be.

When we decide to fast and try to be less irritated, the same thing happens. It is as if on purpose, we become more irritated than usual. This has to do with physiology: some people find it very difficult to do without fasting, while others are implicitly affected by the very idea of restriction, which they do not agree with. The fact that we are not able to meet our own expectations, and this only gives us more reason to be annoyed, also puts a lot of pressure.

So, having sorted out the possible causes of irritability, let’s turn to the second question: how can we still manage our reactions and not get irritated? I enclose instructions on how to cope with irritation, although a simplified scheme, because this topic requires long hours of conversation with a psychologist or independent work on yourself.

How to cope with yourself?

1- Examine your triggers – those situations that make you irritated. Make a list: 5-10 major sources of irritation. Actually there are more if you write in detail in different areas of life. For example, in transport irritates me one thing, at work another, in a relationship with her husband – a third. Next, trace the history of each trigger: why it annoys you. This is a very effective way. Let’s say you are annoyed by crumbs on the floor. Why does it make you feel that way? Because you don’t want to spread them around the house? Because you feel like you’re a bad hostess? Or did the crumbs on the floor annoy your mother?

2. Learn more about the irritation mechanism, read up on it. Knowing how our emotions work helps a lot – we begin to understand their biological and psychological motivations.

3. Come up with a metaphor-image for the state you go into when you get annoyed. It can be a teapot, a volcano, a dragon, a concrete mixer – the one you turn into when this irritation seizes you. You don’t want to be one, do you?

4. Try to catch the moment when the irritation is just beginning to build up in you – then it will be easier to break contact with the object, to redirect the emotion or to apply other tactics – for example, to breathe deeply.

5. Avoid situations where your triggers are triggered. I realize it’s easy to say and hard to do. But try making a detour route around traffic, or just change your approach to what triggers irritability.

It’s easy to make mistakes when dealing with irritability. So I caution you: it is useless to suppress emotions – their accumulation will lead to a breakdown, hysteria or insomnia. If you first irritated with the man and angry, and then twisted herself into a sheep’s horn and decided to be patient – your relationship with him will not be better. On the contrary, irritation will go further, into the very depths, and destroy, ruin your family or friendship.

To accumulate emotions do not hold the pain and resentment inside: calmly, without shouting share what you’re experiencing, explain, try to deal with feelings together. If emotions remain, do not direct them at the person, and find a form in which you can express them. For example, with irritation and stress help exercise – all the power goes to the active physical actions, rather than fighting.

Remember that irritability – it’s not something to stifle in yourself, and with what you need to work.

Prepared by Anastasia Bavinova

There is probably no mom and dad who is not irritated from time to time by the behavior of their children. Usually irritation arises and accumulates in those situations when mom or dad cannot cope with some domestic situation. And such cases in modern life are not uncommon. The problem of parental anger and its manifestation is truly huge. So huge that it deserves a separate book, which was written by Catherine Burmistrova – a remarkable psychologist for over fifteen years dealing with family relationships. The book is designed to help deal with the problem of irritability in the family and contains practical tips.

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