You’re on edge. You’re annoyed and irritable. Someone says something that bugs you, and before you know it, you’ve said something you regret.
We all do it every now and then. But sometimes it feels like you’re snapping at everyone, over things that normally wouldn’t even bother you. Maybe you’ve tried to stop but it just keeps happening.
You feel out of control. And makes you feel like a jerk because snapping on people pushes them away. If you find yourself in this negative headspace, you may wonder what can I do?
Take a step back
First, try to take a step back from the situation. Going to another room, removing yourself from a conversation, or going on a walk are all great ways to put some distance between you and the person you’re tempted to snap at.
There are also ways to “take a step back” without going anywhere at all. Try taking deep breaths or counting to ten slowly in your head (seriously—it may sound cheesy, but it works!). Check out the DIY tools and treatment resources on this site for more coping strategies like The PATH to Calm.
Think about what’s really bothering you
Once you’ve taken a step back, try to identify the feeling that’s putting you on edge. It could be something as simple as being hungry or tired. Or, maybe something recently happened in your life that has you feeling scared, angry, or stressed out.
Mental health struggles can also make you irritable, so if you haven’t taken one of our mental health test yet, try that. If mental illness is involved, it may be hard to stop without treating the illness, so try to learn more about how mental illness works and what you can do about it. Some mental health conditions that commonly involve lots of anger include ADHD, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.
Talk to someone
When you feel like snapping at someone, it might help to tell them how you’re feeling. Try saying something like, “I’m just feeling really agitated right now. It has nothing to do with you.” Most people will probably understand, and they’ll be relieved that it’s not personal.
If they’re a close friend or family member, you might have a longer conversation about why you’re acting this way. Often those closest to us are the ones we lash out at the most, because we feel comfortable expressing our feelings around them. Talking to them can help them understand how you feel and what you are going through.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a loved one, there are others you can talk to:
- Join a support group, talk to a peer, or an online forum. Sometimes when feel that we can’t talk to our loved ones, it helps to talk to someone else who can relate to what we are going through. They can listen and offer an outside perspective.
- Consider calling a warmline. If you are looking for support or someone to talk to about what you experiencing, calling a warmline can help. The person on the other end of the phone is trained to listen and offer support.
- Talk to a therapist or mental health professional. A mental health provider can provide support to help you identify triggers that make you snap at others, and provide guidance on coping skill that can help.
Talking it out may help prevent resentment and help you feel better. Whoever you talk to may even be able to help you explore what’s going on in your life that has you in such an irritable mood.