7 Foolproof Ways to Tackle an Angry, Irritable Mood

7 Foolproof Ways to Tackle an Angry, Irritable Mood

Expert strategies for acknowledging and coping head-on with an angry, irritable mood.

By: Maressa Brown

Whether back-to-school stress, hormones, or the changing weather is to blame, we’re all susceptible to irritability from time to time. And yep, we all get angry, too. But as quick as women might be to say we’re “just fine,” we’re equally as fast to deny ourselves from anger. That’s because it’s a confusing and distressing emotion for women, intermingled with hurt and pain, according to psychologist Sandra Thomas, PhD, a top researcher on the subject. The good news: There are simple ways to acknowledge and address these emotions head-on. Here are seven ways to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling angry, irritable, or just downright grouchy.

1. Eat. Though it may sound so basic, hunger could be at the root of your cross mood. For that reason, you’ll do well to seek out a snack -- STAT, advises Angela DeRosa, DO. “Your blood sugar may be low,” says Dr. DeRosa. Be sure to pair protein with complex carbs (think apple slices with a tablespoon of almond butter) for the ultimate satiety.

2. Try to let go of perfection. Especially if you’re a mother! “Grouchiness often comes from trying to be the perfect mom,” explains psychologist and relationship expert Jeanette Raymond, PhD, author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! “Take the pressure off, and give yourself space to play.” In other words, embrace the fact that you’re human, mistakes come with the territory, and simply having done your best in any situation is enough.

3. Cry. Because it is so taboo, we might exert a lot of energy repressing anger or irritation. Or misdirecting it in passive-aggressive maneuvers like sulking or gossiping, Thomas explains in the Monitor on Psychology. Instead, we may benefit from a session of tear-shedding. “Crying it out releases tension and stress hormones,” says Raymond.

4. Journal. Writing about the stressful circumstances that are irritating you can help you feel better fast and actually help you come to terms with them, according to research from University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker. He found that journaling on a regular basis can actually reduce the effect of stress on your physical health.


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5. Sleep. You may find that your anger or irritability is actually stemming from exhaustion. “Women are notoriously sleep-deprived, which can impact mood,” notes Dr. DeRosa. Taking a quick cat nap in the afternoon or shooting for 7-8 hours a night can do wonders to brighten your temperament.

6. Investigate your hormone levels. “One of the easiest ways to address anger and irritability issues is to look at hormone balance,” notes Dr. DeRosa. “When women's hormones get out of balance, mood is greatly affected.” If you’re experiencing irritability and anger on an ongoing basis, you may want to speak with your doctor about checking your thyroid and your levels of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone.

7. Give yourself time-out. Kids get sent to their rooms when they act out, but adults could often use a “time-out,” too. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful, advise Mayo Clinic experts. Quiet time on your own can help you process your emotions better and prepare for whatever it is that you have to tackle next.

How do you handle anger or irritability?

Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture -- preferably on a beach somewhere.

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