Recall we are like batteries and each day we may be a different level of charge.  This can also change our mental state and perception of the world at any given time.  Dr. Bill Howatt of Howatt HR reminds us in this episode, Insulating for Irritability that it is import to keep our batteries charged to incorporate this micro-skill in our toolbox for maintaining mental fitness.

Psychosocial Factors

Farm owners can create psychosocial factors with their workers.  For example, if a worker is not clear about their role, unsure about workload, not quite trusting what they are being told, conflict in the workplace, or not feeling safe at work.

Mental Fitness

Maintaining mental fitness micro-skills are small behaviours or cognitive skills you can add to your life to support mental fitness.  They are skills that can be applied to all areas of your life to include physical, mental health, personal life, and work experience.  Micro-skills can include social connection, understanding stress, insulating for anxiety, contagion vs inciting, coping with grief or loss, supporting others, feeling overwhelmed with the new norm and this micro-skill insulating for irritability.

A Mental fitness plan is what we can do with intention to charge our battery to have more capacity to meet the demands of what is happening with us.  Mental health is how you feel.  Stress can be an incubator for irritability. 

Irritability Defined

Irritability starts with our concerns in the environment.  Often, we get frustrated with things we can’t control and not in our circle of influence.  Our circle of influence is what we can control. 

Dr. Howatt says,

“Mental fitness is what you do with intention to influence how you experience the world in regards to driving pleasant emotion.  If not, the by-product is we are draining. Then we spend a lot of time with unpleasant emotions.”

Many factors can cause or contribute to irritability.  Some factors causing irritability are influenced by our physiology, environment, and level of stress.  Specifically consider change, hormonal changes, blood sugar levels, lack of sleep, financial challenges, emotional strain, and life demands.  This can create an inability to “Shrug-off” the little things. 

Irritability vs Anger

Irritability and anger differ as anger goes up and down depending on the situation or event.  Irritability can just lay under the surface and is often described as a mood.  There is no particular thing happening to cause the irritability.  Anything will start to cause the person to be irritable.  A person that is irritable can present as though they are angry. 

An increase in irritability can put a strain on our community and farms.  With irritability comes a decrease in compassion, empathy, and social awareness.  Often people will feel on edge, grumpy, cranky or sour.  This can result in being more aggressive than usual or short with people around us.

Signs we may becoming irritable:

If the frequency, duration and intensity begin to increase, it may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue.

4 micro-skills for preventing moving through irritability:

It is important to know we are not broken.  Irritability is not a mental disorder but a reaction to how we are managing our unpleasant emotions basically based on our mental state.  Our mental state is the filter of how we see the world based on our beliefs systems on how we think things should be, could be or how we would want them.  Our self talk is saying what we believe.  Remove your own judgement.

We can influence irritability.  Our mental state, part of mental fitness is be active influencing the world.  Information alone is not transformational; it is our actions.