Agitation is a sense of inward stress and restiveness that can give you a surplus of nervous energy and put you on edge. When you get agitated, you may feel cranky or impatient. These emotions can also cause the urge to pace or fidget as an outlet for your restlessness.
It’s normal to feel agitated every so often, but if you find yourself irritable most of the time, it may be a symptom of a mental illness such as anxiety.
Irritability and Anxiety
Anxiety may make you lash out in unpredictable ways that are difficult to manage. This irrational behavior is due to you trying too hard to handle your anxiety symptoms without help. Many people with anxiety are stuck in a self-sustaining cycle of negativity 24/7, and the resulting tension can make you feel stretched so tightly that even the slightest trigger causes you to snap.
If you’re already dealing with a high stress level, anything that adds to the pressure can cause significant irritation. You can probably think back to times when you got upset or distraught about something minor you’d usually be able to brush off and ignore. There’s a good chance your anxiety was to blame.
Anxious people are already carrying a heavy emotional burden, along with physical and mental symptoms that make life feel like an uphill battle. Especially if you are prone to anxiety or panic attacks, something extra that contributes to your ongoing worries can be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.
How to Preserve Your Relationships
Being quick to anger is often a calling card of anxiety. Unfortunately, the people in your life can unintentionally make you more agitated by criticizing you or failing to respect your boundaries. Family members, friends, and colleagues may tread cautiously around you if they have been on the receiving end of your bad temper one too many times.
You may also worry that those who care about you may think less of you because of your anxiety. For example, after an angry outburst, you may feel guilty, regretful, or ashamed about your behavior, which can cause your anxiety to spiral further out of control.
Here are some tips to help you manage your anxiety-related irritability and protect your relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
- If you are prone to erratic fits of temper and can feel your irritability increasing, take a deep breath and remind yourself that anxiety is what’s putting you on edge. Get up and try to work off some of your nervous energy by doing a few jumping jacks or jogging in place.
- Apologize immediately after you realize you are being difficult. The longer you sit and stew, the more agitated you’ll become. When you say you are sorry, be honest and sincere. Make sure to explain why you got so upset, so the other person knows it isn’t their fault.
- If you feel like you might be having a panic attack, warn others around you so they don’t have to guess about what you are going through. It can also help to ask for what you need. For instance, if a hug would make you feel better, tell someone. If a distraction would help pull you out of the anxiety spiral, make sure the people closest to you can walk you through a breathing exercise or another grounding technique.
Solutions-Based Mental Health Therapy
At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we understand the close connection between mental and physical well-being. That’s why we provide mental health outpatient care for several challenges, including anxiety. To request a mental health evaluation or learn more about the evidence-based treatment methodologies we offer to our outpatient clients, please contact us today.