How to Control Irritability

Irritability can lead to anger, which can be harmful in a number ways, so it is important to learn how to control it. Relationships, career prospects and health can all suffer from consistent and uncontrollable irritability and anger. An angry outburst also has the potential to result in a prison sentence. Reacting to particular situations with feelings of irritability can become a habit, but it is possible to train yourself to think differently by using the recommended techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper


    • 1

      Recognize that you cannot win every argument, and remind yourself that every person is entitled to his own views and it is not up to you to change them. Recognize that people are only human and that everyone makes the mistake of saying something inappropriate or careless at some point. Also, remind yourself that you damage yourself more than other people by becoming angry.

    • 2

      Think about what triggers you to feel irritated. Write down a list of situations that automatically cause you to react with anger. Rate each trigger from one to 10, and then write down the reason why the particular situation causes you to feel irritated. Some of the reasons may seem silly once they are written on paper. This is a positive thing because it will help you begin to change your thinking toward that particular situation.

    • 3

      Select a low-rating trigger from your list to work on for a week. After writing the trigger on a new sheet of paper, followed by the reasons for irritation, you should now write the negative effects that your anger has on the situation. This could include upsetting another person or creating feelings of stress, depression, awkwardness or embarrassment. Now make a list of alternative ways for you to deal with the situation without becoming angry. Keep the paper with you at all times, and if the trigger occurs, try to apply your alternative ideas to the situation.

    • 4

      Continue to work on the different triggers you have, beginning with the low-rating ones and gradually build to the high-rated ones. By training yourself to control your emotions and your behavior during situations that slightly irritate you, the situations that cause increased irritation and anger will then be easier to deal with.

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  • Photo Credit pen and paper image by Melissa Schalke from

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