During your day, have you noticed that every little thing someone does drives you crazy? Whether it’s a family member, friend, or co-worker, their very mundane features have suddenly started to piss you off. You’re not alone! The challenges of the past two years have worn down our patience and left us more irritable than ever. Here, find simple ways to experience true serenity.
to listen you.
“Name what you’re feeling, like frustration, anxiety, anger,” urges expert Sarah A. Schnitker, PhD. Identifying your emotions helps you place them in a larger context: do they come from outside of you or from within? Most of us assume that external stresses are the cause of our irritability, but they can easily be closer to home: “Negative self-talk, for example, can eat at you. Just listening to yourself helps you see what’s really bothering you.
Give yourself a pass.
“How can I learn never to scream? What can I do to never get upset? Expert Sharon Salzberg often hears these questions from people trying to tame that irritable feeling. “The answer is: it won’t happen! she declares. “We are all going to be overwhelmed at times, and the key is to forgive yourself. Recognizing that you are human helps negative thoughts pass.
Take a “jump in time”.
Whether it’s a traffic jam or a comment from your mother-in-law, there’s a proven strategy for every type of frustration: reframing, Schnitker says. This often means “time travel” in your mind: “If you’re stuck in traffic, you might say, ‘Well, 100 years ago, it took months to get anywhere.’ Or, ‘Five years from now, will this really matter?’ This strategy requires an imaginative leap – and you can’t be irritated when you’re creative.
Breathe in the tension.
“Whoever or whatever happens to us, we need to create space for ourselves to stop ourselves from rushing into action,” Salzberg says. “And deep breathing allows us to do that.” Indeed, rhythmic breathing — inhaling for a count of 4, holding for 4, and exhaling for 8 — instantly calms us down by slowing our heart rate, adds expert Julie Catalano. “Many of my clients also distract themselves with a crossword puzzle or a podcast – anything that slows us down makes us feel better.”
Pierce the veil.
A sense of spirituality is linked to greater patience. That’s because having a “transcendent identity,” or a sense of being part of a larger world, helps us put frustrations into perspective. “If someone is rude, for example, we are able to say, ‘He must be going through something,'” Salzberg notes. “It helps us pierce the veil of other people’s behavior to better understand them so that instead of being reactive, we can think about how to react.”
Make a plan.
Once you’re able to calm down in the moment, create a simple plan for the future, advises Salzberg. “Imagine your trigger and imagine what you can do to stay in control.” If, for example, someone annoys you by asking too much of you, imagine you are apologizing to leave the room or telling them that you need to think about their request. “Learning to trust each other takes time, but it’s the key to lasting peace.”
Although feeling irritable and frustrated is always unpleasant, we don’t have to stay with those feelings. Trust yourself and use these tips to be in a better mood!