Ways to develop mechanisms to cope with irritation
By ANEESA MOIDOO, PSYCHOLOGIST
How can I handle my frustration when plans change and avoid conflicts with others? I find it disturbing as plans are set to follow. Why do I feel this way, and how can I resolve this issue?
Feeling irritated when things don’t go our way is a perfectly normal human emotion. However, if we find that our irritation is interfering with our lives or relationships, it’s important to understand the underlying reasons for it and develop coping mechanisms.
There are a few common reasons why we might feel irritated when things don’t go our way. One reason is that we have a strong need for control. When we feel like we’re not in control of our lives, we are experiencing a feeling of loss.
Another reason we might feel irritated is that we have unrealistic expectations. If we expect things to be perfect all the time, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. When reality doesn’t meet our expectations, it can be difficult to cope.
Similarly, some are more comfortable with predictability and routine. When things don’t go as planned, it can create a sense of uncertain and anxiety. This can lead to irritation and frustration. Additionally, when our strongly held beliefs or values are contradicted by the actions of others, it can trigger a strong emotional response.
Finally, the need to control also arises from not trusting others to do things the way we want it to be, which is also rooted in not trusting oneself. The thumb rule is there is not just one way to do things. Therefore opening yourself to see more perspectives and angles to the situations helps you feel less stringent.
Mentioning this, there are a few things we can do to cope with irritation when things don’t go our way. First, it’s important to identify our triggers. Once we know what our triggers are, we can start to develop strategies for coping with them. Ask yourself, ‘Why?’ Why should I have to tell this person to do something? Why do I feel the need to exert control over this situation? After you’ve questioned why, you can begin talking to yourself. Rather than falling to your controlling tendencies, you might address the “why.” Second, it’s important to challenge our expectations. Are our expectations realistic? If not, try to adjust them. It’s important to remember that we can’t control everything in life.
Acknowledge that there are aspects beyond our control and not everything will go according to plans can alleviate distress. Learning to let go of our need for control can help us to be less irritated. Finally, if we’re struggling to cope with irritation, it’s important to talk to someone. A friend, family member, therapist, or counselor can offer support and guidance. Last but not least self-reflection, introspection is essential.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daily Tribune)