Irritable All the Time? What it Means & 7 Ways You Can Change it

By Krista


Last Updated: October 7, 2022

You get out of bed. And you’re in another “mood.”

Maybe you’re feeling grumpy, annoyed, irritable, impatient, angry, or simply a bit on edge. You lose it at a drop of a hat. The coffee wasn’t made right. That person meant to cut you off in traffic; how dare they! Everything gets under your skin. Is this normal?

The truth is no! You shouldn’t be feeling this way all the time. In fact, there are many reasons why you might be feeling more irritable than usual (and why it is potentially impacting your relationships and productivity!). In fact, you should take feeling irritable as a sign that you need to make a change.

And yes, if you’re feeling irritable, you might roll your eyes at that. But let’s be honest: Do you want to be irritable all the time? Probably not. So, let’s dive in! What does being irritable all the time mean? How can you stop it?



What Does It Mean When You Are Irritable All the Time?

Irritability can arise from physiological causes and psychological causes. And we all get irritable from time to time! Maybe we slept poorly or perhaps we’re starting to get a bit hangry. Either way, feeling irritable on occasion is normal. Feeling this way all the time isn’t.

If you often feel irritable, it might be due to:

  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Undiagnosed mental health disorders
  • Chronic sleep deprivation
  • Ear infections
  • Being or getting sick
  • Menopause
  • PMS
  • Diabetes
  • Drug use
  • Nicotine or drug withdrawal
  • Fear

Understanding why you feel irritable is the first step toward finding a solution. This helps you get to the root cause, cutting off those feelings of irritability at the core. 


Is It Normal to Get Irritated Easily?

While some individuals get irritated more than others, being irritable more easily or all the time can indicate something more is at play. If you feel on the edge all the time, it’s important to bring this up with your doctor. They can perform some tests and potentially refer you to a mental health professional if that makes sense for you.


Does Anxiety Cause Irritability?


Irritability is actually a really common sign of an anxiety disorder. This is often because the person is severely stressed and lacking the energy (and mechanisms) to cope with that stress.

Related Article: Try These 7 Daily Anxiety-Reduction Techniques to Help You Worry Less



How Do I Stop Being So Irritable?

When you’re feeling irritable, first, you want to determine if there is a clear source of the irritation.

  • How did you sleep last night?
  • Have you eaten enough today?
  • Are you feeling stressed? Anxious?

If none of these ring a bell, try this:

1. Take a few slow and deep breaths.

  • Sit up tall or lie down.
  • Then, take a slow and deep breath through your mouth, fill your belly completely up and count to four.
  • Pause, then slowly exhale to a count of four.
  • Do this at least five times.

This should signal to your nervous system to rest and relax, thus, you should feel calmer afterwards!


2. Move your body!

As we all know, exercise stimulates endorphins, which make us feel good! So, go ahead. Blow off some steam. Pump out a few exercises at the gym. Go for a run. Attend that yoga class. Find something that helps you re-center and allows you to move.


3. Focus on nourishing your body with what you eat.

Irritability can mean that we aren’t eating enough, which often means our blood sugar is all over the place and the stress hormones are working overtime. 

A simple way to combat this is by ensuring you eat every three to five hours and make sure you eat whole foods that are nutritious and not processed. This ensures you get enough nutrients (which are the building blocks of everything in the body, and yes, they impact how you feel!).


4. Chew gum.

Research shows that chewing gum can actually help us feel calmer and happier, helping to de-escalate any irritable feelings. So, next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, grab a piece of gum and get chewing! (It might even improve your focus and concentration.)


5. Practice mental reframing.

Getting mad at everything around us is a sign that you need to make a change mentally. This might mean reframing your thoughts so that you feel happier and calmer overall. 

For instance, maybe that person who “definitely meant to cut you off in traffic” didn’t even notice. Maybe they are having a bad day or feeling overwhelmed as they try to navigate this crazy thing called life. Try to find to reframe things that bother you. What is another perspective you can take?


6. Put away the digital devices.

Screens can, well, be stressful! Take regular breaks away from your electronic devices and engage with life itself! This might mean catching up with friends or just sitting in silence while you play solitaire (seriously, whatever does it for you!).


7. Take time to be alone.

The other day my friend mentioned that you can be a “non-people people person.” Essentially, I took this to mean that while I love being around people, I also need alone time to recharge. And this is true for so many people!

So, schedule your alone time into your calendar. Make it a priority. Sometimes, we can get easily irritated when we don’t get enough of that space to mentally decompress.

Related Article: 10 Delicious Ways to Pamper Yourself When You're on a Budget



Solve Feeling Irritable Today!

Again, if none of the above work, consider booking a visit with your doctor and discussing what else could be playing into your irritable feelings.

However, be honest with yourself. Assess what’s going on in your life. Try out some of the strategies above and see how you feel. Are you less irritable? More calm? Keep a record of it.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung once said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Take this as an opportunity to learn something about yourself! It could very well benefit you in the long-run and make a substantial positive impact on your life.

Read Next: Complaining Too Much? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself & 5 Ways to Stop

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