Constantly annoyed? Here are some strategies.
“I’m taking this car and moving to Florida!” the elderly man in front of me at the DMV raged. He held up the line for a good 20 minutes, all over a measly $25 fee. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in line thinking, “By all means, head for that state line… and now.” But you can’t completely blame the guy. Sometimes life triggers what can feels like an endless case of road rage. Even us yogis and meditators aren’t immune from it. Every little thing starts to grate, from the headline in the Washington Post to the #$% convection oven. Woah. If you feel like you are living life in a constant state of irritation, here are a few ways to calm down.
- Invest in alone time. A survey done by Durham University showed that regardless of whether people are introverts or extroverts, humans crave time alone to recharge. The top ways people said they could truly relax were reading and spending time in the natural environment.
- Watch the caffeine. This drug elevates blood pressure, and increases cortisol levels in response to stress. It can also keep you up at night, triggering a cycle of sleeplessness which will also lead to a more irritable state the next day.
- Try kava. Kava, also called kava kava, is a social beverage traditionally used in the South Pacific. In a published study, researchers at Rutgers and Adelphi Universities found that a dose of 60 to 120 mg kavactones twice a day was ideal as a natural remedy for reducing overall anxiety. (You could also try a trip to the South Pacific, which would probably also do wonders for a crabby mood…)
- Act the way you want to feel. You might feel like slapping that guy in the DMV on the back of the head. But how would you want to be seen, if your actions were being filmed? Move your body in that way and soon your mood may match. Instead of slapping the guy at the DMV, you’d want to be seen laughing and chatting with the lady behind you in line, right?
- Chew yourself calm. The Women in Balance Institute recommends a diet filled with anti-inflammatory and vitamin C-rich foods such as garlic, rosemary, cayenne, cranberries, strawberries and red peppers.
Chronic irritability can be a sign of more serious issues, including depression, anxiety, addiction and thyroid imbalance, so if lifestyle modifications don’t seem to help, do set up a time to discuss this with a healthcare provider.