What to do when everything irritates you?

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Irritation is a pretty painful emotion. Unlike say rage, which burns hot but goes away quickly, irritation can accompany you in the background all the time, making your life worse and breaking through at the most inappropriate moments. 

As Shakespeare said, “Men always wrangle with little things when they’re really worried about bigger ones”. If you notice that you blow up too easily over every little thing and irritation is your constant companion – you need to start looking for the reasons.

Surely you have noticed that there are certain days or periods when you get annoyed very quickly and blow up seemingly for no good reason. Someone cut you off on the way to work, a long line at the supermarket, the driver in front of you cannot decide whether he is turning or not… Such situations occur in our lives all the time. But the intensity of our reaction may be quite different. It may seem that today is just a very unlucky day, while we are the same as always – we just encounter bad luck and idiots more often… 

In its essence, irritation is a suppressed aggression. For whatever reason you cannot show your aggression: it has no outlet. And viola – it stays inside of you and puts its tentacles in all aspects of your life. When you cannot show your negative feelings, the emotion of anger gets suppressed and takes the form of irritation. 

If this happens to you, it makes sense to consider what worries you on a bigger scale. Perhaps, it is a situation that has been demanding your attention for quite a while. Or you experience pressure that you are not able to counteract. 

What exactly your irritation wants to tell you?

  • That your boundaries may be violated: someone does something that goes against your wishes or you agreed on something that you don’t want to do.
  • That some needs of yours are not being met. Starting from “I want some quiet time, but you are speaking too loudly” and ending with some basic needs like sleep, food, sex, or freedom that are constantly not being met. In this case, your psyche starts sounding an alarm by creating a feeling of irritation.

If you noticed that you feel too much irritation, try to remember when this started and what kind of events were going on in your life during this time. In what area of your life, you are not able to show your real feelings?

When you experience the feeling of irritation, ask it the following questions:

  • What do you want to tell me about?
  • What is violating my boundaries?
  • What needs of mine are not being met?
  • How would I like the situation to develop?

Listen carefully to the answers. Write them down and work on the underlying reasons.