Most of us get cranky when we haven’t gotten enough food or sleep. But a lot of us are also just
cranky all the time for no apparent reason. “Apparent” is the operative word there, though. There is always a reason, even if it’s not clear, and the way to stop being so cranky is to figure out that reason.
Being cranky isn't just unpleasant for the people around us — it's also unpleasant for us. So, it's important to take extra good care of ourselves both so that all the anger doesn't get to us and so that it doesn't impact others.
"It's critical to regularly take downtime to process our emotions so they don't build,"
psychotherapist April Snow tells Bustle. "When we push our feelings down for too long, they often get compounded and expressed as anger. Working through our emotions can happen in many ways, such as talking to a friend, journaling, or expressing ourselves through art. It's especially helpful to process anger through physical movement such as running, martial arts, or dancing. If you're feeling irritable, it's highly likely that it's time to relieve some pressure through social support, getting more sleep, or your favorite self-care activities."
It can also help to get to the root cause and work on that. Toward that end, here are some common causes of chronic crankiness.
1 Something's Bugging You
Your bad mood may seem to be about nothing in particular, but the thing it's about might just be buried beneath the surface. "Most people are not skilled in being aware of what they feel, correctly expressing it, or taking the time to do it," cognitive scientist and clarity coach
Dr. Vijay Ram tells Bustle. "When they do, it can dissipate a lot of the stress, frustration, emotions from past experiences, and other drivers that may be causing someone to be 'cranky.'"
The solution, in this case, is to have a conversation with a trusted friend where you air all your problems, says Ram. Try not to figure out what makes sense or not and just say what's on your mind. "Talk until you feel better," Ram suggests. "Doing this a few times can clean out a lot of backlogged issues and 'clear the pipes.'"
2 You're Hangry
Sugar and processed foods don't fill us up, which can
leave us "hangry" even if we've just eaten. Then, we might eat more of these foods, which keeps this cycle going, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and nutrition consultant Susan Stalte tells Bustle.
Pay attention to how you feel after a meal and make changes if necessary.
3 You're Sleep Deprived
When we're sleep deprived, we just don't have the mental energy to deal with people, so we may develop a short fuse,
sleep expert Carolyn Schur tells Bustle. This one is obvious, but its impact cannot be overstated. "When we sleep we are physically and emotionally refreshed," says Schur. 4 You're On The Wrong Sleep Schedule
Even if you're getting enough sleep, you can still end up cranky in the morning if you're a night owl. "Another reason some people are cranky, especially in the morning, is because they are 'night owls' being forced to wake on early bird schedules," says Schur. "Because they are being forced to be awake at a time when they should be sleeping, they can be very irritable." If you have enough control over your work schedule to do so, try to go to bed later and sleep later if you're always cranky in the morning.
5 You're Highly Sensitive
One sign of being
a highly sensitive person is feeling overwhelmed very easily, says Snow. And when we're overwhelmed by sound, sight, or some other sensory input, a common reaction is to get cranky. "Introverts and Highly Sensitive People have an especially difficult time managing the demands of our fast-paced culture and getting the downtime they need to recharge," says Snow. 6 You're Not Breathing Right
You might think something as obvious as how to breathe wouldn't be a concern, but a lot of us end up breathing wrong because we're so stressed out,
yoga teacher Jenay Rose tells Bustle. "This is something I see in a lot of people who come to yoga. They exhale longer than they inhale, so I make a constant effort to remind students to create an equal length inhale and exhale. This not only has a balancing effect on the physical body, but it calms the mind and creates equanimity in the nervous system," she says. "By using the breath as a tool to ease the body and mind, things like crankiness can disperse. It has been proven that meditation and other breathing exercises have incredible effects on the brain and nervous system, which controls our cranky levels." 7 Your Joints Are Congested
Due to a poor diet, inadequate exercise, dehydration, repressed emotions, or other health issues, your joints can get stiff,
Yoga and Holistic Health Instructor tells Bustle. This is also known as inflammation, and it can hurt your emotional health as well. Yoga and stretching can help with this. Claudia Matles
Be patient with yourself — we all get cranky. It doesn't reflect poorly on you. Instead, think of it as feedback on your lifestyle, and adjust accordingly.
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