Irritability is something we all experience, but what sets it apart from other emotional states is the extent to which it pollutes the emotional atmosphere around us. One person’s irritable mood can release negativity and stress-inducing vibes that negatively impact the entire office, household, or classroom. When we feel irritable we feel on edge, grumpy, cranky, and sour. Our tolerance is lower and we are much more likely to be bothered by the kinds of minor frustrations we ordinarily shrug off. Our reactions to irritants are also likely to be much more aggressive than usual, leading us to snap, bark, and chastise those around us.
Most people feel irritable from time to time, and some people may become frustrated more easily than others as a result of irritability. Even if there appears to be no source behind the irritability, there generally is a cause, such as dissatisfaction with one’s life or relationship difficulties.
To overcome feelings of depression and irritability, here we are providing 28 useful ways that you can opt in your life.
Keep in steady state
1. Be aware of emotions
Self-awareness can be an important tactic to combat irritability. Some people become irritable after hours or days of stress and anxiety. But maintaining awareness of emotions can help stop irritability before it becomes overwhelming or unavoidable. Recognizing physical warning signs of irritability; muscle tension, shallow breathing, and increased sweating may be beneficial.
When feeling irritable, it may be helpful to avoid or walk away from provocative situations rather than attempt to respond. This may prevent outbursts or comments that might be regretted at a later time.
2. Figure out source
The best way to reduce irritability is to figure out what’s making you irritable and then address it. Identify when you first became irritable and consider what might have set you off. It’s important to remember that while your reactions might feel complex at the moment, the issue that triggered them might be simple.
3. It’s often the little things
We often dismiss considering things that shouldn’t make us irritable even if they actually do. For example, a competitive person might become irritable when they lose at Words with Friends, but since they know that’s silly, they ignore the fact that their mother’s triple word score vaulted her into the lead and triggered their internal sourness. Be honest with yourself about what’s bothering you: Simply acknowledging that something is making you irritable is often enough to take the edge off.
4. Reduce caffeine and alcohol
Too much caffeine during the day and too much alcohol at night are frequent sources of irritability for many people. So consider cutting back.
As you may know, exercise leads to the release of dopamine in your brain. This happy hormone automatically boosts your mood. If you’re short on time, even a quick walk to the shops and back can help blow the cobwebs away.
If you can escape, a gym session or a run will get your blood pumping and should help put a smile back on your face. It can help you in overcoming irritability associated with depression.
6. Take a nap
First things first, it’s time to make sure your basic human needs are covered. Grabbing a quick 20 minutes of shut-eye might not be a viable option if you’re at the office, but if you’re at all able to sneak off for a power nap, make sure you do.
Stick to the power nap rather than letting yourself sleep for a few hours because, as I’m sure you know, if you sleep for too long during the day, you often wake up feeling groggy and probably in a worse mood than when you went to sleep.
A quick nap can give you the energy you need to get on with your day having shaken off your irritability.
7. Have a bite to eat
Although you might not think you’re hungry, if you’re in a surly mood, do yourself a favor and have a meal or quick snack and see if that does the trick.
I often don’t realize that I’ve been short-tempered and not firing on all cylinders until someone gives me food and I return to planet earth.
Try not to go for anything that’s all quick-release sugars, though, as you’ll only peak and then quickly through again.
Having said that, sometimes there’s nothing better for a bad mood than a chocolate bar, and if you’ve got a craving for something, just indulge it. Denying yourself the food you really want will only make you feel more irritable.
8. Get rid of nervous energy
Since irritability activates our fight-or-flight response sets, it might be a good idea to take a quick walk or run, or, if that’s not possible, do some quick push-ups or crunches to rid yourself of excess energy that might be fueling your irritability. Fresh air on a leisurely walk could do wonders as well.
9. Get quiet and alone time
Find a quiet place to think things through, or to disengage from the commotion and activity around you. Irritability can be your mind’s way of alerting you that you need a break, so take one. Listen to music, do some stretching or yoga, meditate, or take a bubble bath. When you’re done, take a deep breath and prepare yourself to re-engage so your system isn’t shocked back into irritability once you re-enter the fray.
10. Recognize and detangle situation
Getting acquainted with situations that rattle you can pay off in helping you more quickly recognize them when they are pushed. Like with most things, practice makes perfect, so try to make a habit of asking yourself what else might be upsetting you when you find yourself irritated.
Remind yourself that a present situation might be frusturating, and similar to an old painful memory, but it is not the same, and therefore deserves conscious, thoughtful reaction rather than an automatic reaction that is vestige of more vulnerable time or situation.
11. Regulate expectations
Feeling irritable is often a result of needing a certain ideal in order to feel okay. However, that level of okay is often unreasonable and therefore unattainable, making the potential for irritability a near constant. By learning to have more reasonable expectations, we set the tone for less irritability. This goes for others as well as ourselves. Having reasonable expectations facilitates our ability to give others a break, as well as ourselves.
12. Get it off
Whilst I always recommend alone time for those feeling irritable, it can also be very good to vent.
Whatever has triggered you, moaning to someone that you know will listen sympathetically can help you articulate your frustration and then put it behind you.
Try to talk to a partner, family member, or close friend. Choose someone who loves you and who will offer support, kind words, and, if you ask for it, an honest opinion.
13. Take a mental break
Although it might be nearly impossible to empty your mind of all thought when you’re irritable (it’s hard enough when you’re feeling calm!), meditation allows you to notice the thoughts that come to mind and drift across your consciousness, before you bring your focus back to your breath or whatever the object of the meditation session is.
Observing your thoughts whilst being detached from them helps you to disengage from them and prevent them from governing you and your behavior.
14. Take few breaths
Thoughts like, “I can’t stand to be here one more minute,” will feed your irritability. Your body will respond accordingly by releasing cortisol, a stress hormone.
Then, your heart might beat faster. Your palms might grow sweaty. Your blood pressure might rise. Taking a few slow, deep breaths can calm your physiological response. When your body grows a little calmer, your brain might grow calmer too.
When you’re feeling stressed and irritable, try inhaling slowly to the count of three through your nose. Hold your breath for just a second and then exhale slowly through pursed lips for a count of three. Do that three times and see if you feel a little better.
Open up yourself
15. Acknowledge your irritability
When someone asks why you’re so grumpy, it’s tempting to snap at them and say, “I’m not grumpy!” You might even blame everyone else for being too sensitive, too loud, or too annoying.
But denying your irritability is likely to make you feel worse. When you notice that you’re feeling annoyed with everything and everyone around you, acknowledge that you’re irritable.
You don’t necessarily have to announce that you’re feeling irritable. You might just acknowledge it to yourself. So take a minute to label your emotions when you’re feeling irritable. And you might notice you start to feel just a little better right away.
16. Get in touch with compassion
Being compassionate with yourself can be a powerful way to calm your churning emotions. Acknowledge (in your head) that you feel really irritable and how unpleasant it is. Then imagine getting a hug from someone who cares about you. Once you feel a little better, use your compassion to consider how it has made those around you feel, and how important it is to not take it out on them.
17. Practice of mediation and mindfulness
Sometimes you just need to take your mind off it. Listen to your favorite podcast, get stuck into an audiobook, or watch an episode of your favorite series.
Anything that can capture your whole attention and take your mind off things can help to reset your mindset. Get yourself involved in the practice of meditation and mindfulness.
18. Speak up with trusted persons
Skin to skin contact is another great way of getting a dopamine hit. Ask someone you love very nicely if they wouldn’t mind giving you a hug to make you feel better.
They’ll much prefer that to having you snap at them, and it might be just what you need to relax.
19. Disconnect from phone
Whilst you’re having an evening on your own and nourishing yourself, the last thing you need is to be constantly receiving texts and emails, especially if it’s your stress levels and a long to-do list that are putting you on edge.
Our modern state of constant connectivity means we never really have a chance to switch off. We can still be receiving work emails at 9pm at night.
Leave your phone in another room for a while and it might help you feel like some of the weight has been temporarily lifted.
20. Have some fun
Stop taking life quite so seriously. Watch a cat video. Read a funny article. Ring a friend who has a great sense of humor.
It’s hard to put a frown back on your face once a giggle has cracked your stony exterior.
21. Practice laughing
When we see other people being irritable, we realize just how unreasonable we ourselves can be once we’re seeing everything through a moody veil.
If you can manage to take a step back and see yourself how others are seeing you when you’re in this state of mind, you can often jolt yourself out of it by appreciating that you look a bit like a petulant child.
Try to find the funny side of your own sulky behavior and laugh about it. Don’t be afraid to take the Mickey out of yourself now and again.
22. Chew gum
Chewing gum might be a quick way to relieve stress, which may be helpful in reducing your irritability. A study found that people felt less anxious and less stressed when they were chewing gum. It also improved their focus and attention.
So the next time you feel a little irritable, reach for a piece of gum. You might find it helps you feel a little calmer and a little happier.
23. Reframe negative thoughts
When you’re dealing with an inconvenience, like a traffic jam, you might start thinking thoughts that fuel your irritability. Thinking something like, “I hate wasting my life in traffic!” will cause you to feel worse.
When you catch yourself dwelling on the unfairness of a situation or thinking about how much you dislike something, reframe it.
Stick to the facts, rather than your judgments and emotions surrounding those facts. In the case of a traffic jam, you might remind yourself that there are millions of cars on the road every day and traffic jams are bound to happen.
Therapies and Healing
24. Mood stabilizers
Anticonvulsants are also sometimes used to stabilize mood and depression. These medications exert their effects by constraining aberrant electrical activity and hyper-responsiveness in the brain, which contributes to seizures.
A variety of antidepressants are prescribed for both anxiety and depression. Some of these also help alleviate nerve pain. The research most strongly supports the use of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) as double-duty drugs that can treat both psychiatric disorders and pain. The findings are more mixed about the ability of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to combat irritability.
26. Rule out severe mental issues
Irritability is caused by many personal, social, or psychological factors. A mental health professional can help you understand and navigate your emotions. Treatment that includes psychotherapy in addition to antidepressant medication is often more effective than medication alone.
27. Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral techniques, for example, which can help reframe thoughts to improve behavior, appear to be popular among people affected by irritability. In addition, learning effective stress management skills and techniques such as meditation and mindfulness as well as exploring helpful outlets for stress, anxiety, and frustration might all be aspects of therapy to treat irritability. Sometimes irritability can be the result of deep feelings of grief or anger. These feelings may be unconsciously felt, and therapy can help uncover and treat the effects of these emotions, thus reducing or relieving irritability.
28. Hormone therapy
The treatment options for irritability vary depending on the underlying cause. Effectively treating the cause will relieve feelings of irritability and other related symptoms.
Treatments for hormonal imbalances include diet and lifestyle changes as well as hormone therapy. Hormone therapy may not work for everyone, so it is best to consult a trained healthcare professional before starting hormone supplements.
When a person feels irritable, small things that would not usually bother them can make them feel annoyed or agitated. The resulting tension can make a person more sensitive to stressful situations. There is no need to worry about such situations. The ways are provided that can help you in overcoming irritability and depression. Psychotherapy is useful source in making your life better. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Moving forward with Psychotherapy
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