Surprising Causes for Your Irritation

Taken from from the John Tesh Radio Show.

Feeling ticked off? Here are three surprising causes for your irritation, along with simple tricks to help you feel better.

Your mind’s in too many places at once.

Psychologists at Harvard recently conducted a study where they called volunteers at random times of the day. Each time, they’d ask what the participants were doing, and how they were feeling. It turns out, volunteers generally reported more happiness if they were focused on one activity – no matter what it was. However, if volunteers were unfocused – because they were jugging a bunch of errands, for example – they tended to feel less happy. In other words: An unfocused mind is an unhappy mind.

Another surprising reason you’re irritated: You overheard someone talking on a cell phone.

According to a study in the book Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, humans are conditioned to finish other people’s sentences, because it helps us communicate more effectively. That’s why it’s so aggravating to hear half a conversation on a cell phone. Researchers say it’s because your mind is trying to predict what’s being said, and when the conversation will end.

One more reason you’re feeling ticked off: You’re in pain.

While it’s normal to feel upset about your pain, what’s surprising is what you can do to reduce it. According to a new study published in Scientific American Mind, you may be able to cut your pain in half by looking at photos of a loved one. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that the brain treats physical pain the same as emotional pain. So if you can fix a bad day by doing something that makes you happy, it makes sense that you can soothe aches and pains the same way – by looking at photos of your spouse, for example. That’ll flood your brain with feel-good chemicals that help reduce physical pain.