Irritation is not an alien concept to anyone – We all have things that irritate us, things that annoy and wind us up to what feels like the breaking point. Whether it’s people eating with their mouths open, someone not listening to you properly or even waiting in line. Some of these things seem quite justifiable, of course it’s annoying when you’ve been interrupted mid sentence or the person behind the desk is being unhelpful. The problem is exacerbated when our irritation quickly leads to anger. Like a canister of petrol set off by a spark.
All sorts of things can contribute to building up that bubbling fuel beneath the surface. Our daily stress, disappointments, worries, frustrations, pains, etc… All of these things just add to a baseline of frustration and create irritation if we haven’t been processing them in a helpful way.
I’m guilty of doing this, pushing back stress or my chronic neck pain only to snap at small things. The small things seem like big things when you’re not checking in with yourself. I’ve gotten so frustrated because I felt like someone wasn’t listening to everything I was trying to say (correctly so, but it was me that wasn’t listening to my body). Frustrated beyond what the situation called for.
At Conquering Life we know that what we can control in our lives is our own actions and reactions, and that everyone else’s is outside our control – even if they are chewing in the most obnoxious way! Often our actions and reactions can contribute to someone else’s actions and reactions. If we want someone to pay more attention or to be more helpful, is being aggressive or being impatient really going to be more effective?
While aggression might seem like the more tempting option, it is the option that does more damage – both to ourselves and to others. I’ve realized that in order to work on my irritation I have to: 1. Be more aware of myself and my needs in general (hear myself/my body)- making sure that I’m taking time to relax, caring for my neck with the appropriate exercise and treatment and that I’m getting enough sleep, and 2. Practice tactics for handling the situation if my irritation is emerging despite my better self care.
These tactics can be as simple as taking a step back and doing some mindful breathing. Breath in through your nose, hold your breath for a moment and release through your mouth. Follow your breath with your mind and let your thoughts and irritation pass you by like a passing car or ambulance – acknowledging the sounds but not letting them distract you. Sometimes this pause is enough for you to be able to push through and calm your annoyance. Sometimes it will require more.
The important thing is to not let your irritation overrun your life. If you need to walk away, walk away. Take the time you need to overcome rather than giving in to anger. We are all human and some days are harder than others! At Conquering Life we want to encourage people to take the time they need, and to learn the tools that lead them to a happier and healthier life. The more we work on our reactions the easier and more habitual it will become, until patience is second nature. Give yourself peace of mind even if the world doesn’t seem to want to at times.
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