Here's the ninth in the series of excellent blogs by Lex covering the adjectives on the 20 Moodscope cards. Please don't forget we'd love you to add any ideas, tips, insights or advice you may have that you'd like to share with other Moodscope members that might be of help. Please add them to the comments at the end of this post. Many thanks. Caroline.
'Irritable' is a wonderful word – it even has a ratty rhythm to it – a kind of tetchy staccato beat! Irritability is an over-reaction to stimuli. Rat-ta-tat-tat! I'm going to speak auto-biographically here. I've noticed over the years that I tend to be irritable with those people I like most! It's almost as if I give myself permission to be ratty with those close to me, but I extend a greater tolerance to strangers. Does that sound around the wrong way to you?
So, for today, the key for me is focusing on the concept of an 'over-reaction'. Whether we're talking about psychological irritability, or physical irritability like IBS, there is some (over) reaction to a stimulus. Thus I take a two-pronged approach: 1) reduce the stimuli, and 2) challenge the type of reaction.
1. Reduce the stimuli. I am a massive fan of FABs. "FAB" stands for a 'Fluid Adjustment Break'. When I am over-stimulated and in danger of over-reacting, I excuse myself and pop off either to the loo or to make myself a drink. Both Fluid Adjustments seem to give me psychological fluidity too, and I can often recover and calm down. Distance gives perspective.
2. Challenge the type of reaction. 'Irritation is the beginning of a pearl!' A pearl is the Oyster's response to an irritant in its mantle. By consciously seeking for some value in an experience, I can sometimes turn an irritating situation into a valuable lesson – a pearl of wisdom. It's sort of, 'Always look on the bright side of life!' This doesn't mean that I am naturally optimistic – far from it. It does mean though that I invest energy into the thinking process used to find something useful in the scenario – and that, in and of itself, is a useful distraction!