Whether it’s because your brother-in-law is talking politics again or because your co-worker made a mean comment about your outfit, sometimes other people can piss us off. You cannot control how others behave. However, you can control your reaction when others annoy you. If someone says or does something that upsets you, take a moment to breathe and deal with your feelings. Once you’ve calmed down, set boundaries with the person. Find out what bothers you in the long run. Think about where your feelings come from.
If someone just said or did something inappropriate and you get angry, stop and take a few deep, slow breaths in and out through your nose. Breathing deeply into your stomach will calm you down and control your anger. It may help if you silently count to five as you breathe in and again as you breathe out.
If your emotions are out of control, calm down to refocus on the here and now. Find something in your environment that you can focus on with as many of your senses as possible. For example, reach into your pocket and feel the keys in your hand. Move them around a little so you can hear them jingle. You can also pay attention to the feel of the ground under your feet, hear the sounds around you, or look at an interesting object in front of you.
Sometimes a good way to release the tension that creates anger is to move away. If you’re too angry to handle the situation properly, leave the room or go for a short walk. Say, “Excuse me, I need a moment.”
Stop and evaluate your feelings before reacting. What are you feeling? why do you feel this way If you name your feeling and know its cause, then you can better control your emotions. Don’t think, “Mom is so annoying.” Instead, think, “I feel very frustrated because Mom keeps asking when Ted and I are getting married, even though I’ve told her I’m not ready to even think about marriage.” That way you don’t feel angry at your mom, but instead focus on what’s bothering you, which is that she’s overstepping your boundaries by raising an issue that you’ve already said you don’t want to talk about. Once you identify the problem, it will be easier for you to find a solution.
Tip: Don’t beat yourself up because you’re angry. It’s okay to feel that way. The most important thing is that you decide how to deal with your feelings.
When someone is annoying you, you might want to snap and say the first hurtful thing that comes to mind. If you give in to this urge, the situation escalates and you feel even worse. Instead, stop and think about what you really want to say. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say true? Is it necessary or appropriate to say this? Does it express exactly what I’m really thinking and feeling?”
If someone said or did something that makes you angry, they may not even know it. Explain what makes you angry and how you feel as clearly and firmly as you can. For example, say, “Fred, I feel very uncomfortable when you make comments like this about my weight.” Don’t attack or make accusations (e.g. “You’re such a fool!”). Instead, focus on the behavior and your reaction (e.g. “It bothers me when you behave like this.”)
When you set boundaries for others, it’s important that you (to others and to yourself) are clearly above them. Be specific and direct with the other person about how you expect them to behave. Say, “My personal space is really important to me. Please don’t touch me without asking first.”
Tip: Setting boundaries can be difficult, especially when the person is close to you. However, boundaries are an important part of any healthy relationship.
Define not only your boundaries but also what happens when the other person doesn’t respect them. Set consequences and enforce them if you have to. For example, say, “If you continue to be late for our meetings, I won’t be able to see you anymore.”
If someone keeps bugging you and pushing your boundaries, spend less time with them. This is especially important if he seems to tease you on purpose. Minimize time with the person as much as possible, or cut contact entirely if you must. If you need to meet the person — for example, if they are your colleague or a close relative — take someone with you. Be polite to the person, but only speak to them as necessary.
If you’re easily annoyed, think about what makes you most angry. Knowing some triggers will make it easier for you to prepare for them. Perhaps comments about your looks bother you the most. You might get angry if your partner looks at their cell phone while you’re talking to them.
If you know why certain things annoy you, it will be easier for you to control your reaction to them. When you realize that your feelings come from within, then it’s not so much up to whoever is bugging you. If you find yourself again being bothered by someone, stop and think about where your negative feelings are coming from. You may get very angry if your friend gets upset and interrupts you. Maybe this reminds you that your big brother never let you speak and you often felt unheard. Once you know the source of your feelings, try to recognize when you’re not just addressing the situation at hand. You can then react better to what is happening.
Tip: If you’ve had pain or trauma in the past that’s negatively affecting your relationships, talk to a counselor or therapist. He can help you solve the problem and develop good strategies for dealing with it.
You can feel more in control by recognizing warning signs that someone is annoying you. If someone bothers you again, pay attention to your feelings. If you recognize them, then you can learn to control them before they show themselves. You may find that if you breathe quickly and tense your shoulders, you get very angry. When you recognize this, you can fight it by consciously breathing in and out deeply and relaxing your body.
If you meditate regularly, you will generally feel calmer and more self-aware. If you have a lot of trouble controlling your reactions when people annoy you, then meditation might help. Do a simple mindfulness meditation. Sit in a quiet and comfortable place and focus on your breathing for a while. Then bring your attention to your emotional and physical sensations. Don’t judge or analyze your feelings, just notice them. You can also find guided meditations online. Find one specifically designed for dealing with anger or frustration.