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By Nick Jemetta


I’ve felt my most angry and irritable when I’ve been at my most anxious. Just like the suffocating feeling of anxiety, anger and irritability always felt overwhelming and disruptive.

I struggled most with anxiety-induced anger and irritability at University when I was drinking too much, out of control and not acknowledging the seriousness of my feelings. My mental health was in decline and at points I was experiencing suicidal thoughts.

I was in a downward spiral and found that as my consumption of alcohol increased, my anxiety increased. That led to me becoming easily frustrated and irritated by the behaviours of others. I had a short fuse and although I never lashed out, I often felt tempted.

At the time it was hard for me to identify precisely why I felt so angry which only added to feelings of isolation, shame and helplessness.

Fast forward to today (18 years later) and my mental health is stable. I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety by building a toolkit of coping strategies. The anger I felt at University has disappeared as I’ve been able to identify and resolve the underlying issues driving the anger.

Irritability still occasionally catches me out if I’m worrying about a particular topic and aren’t aware enough of how I’m feeling, and what is triggering those feelings.

Here are my top 5 strategies for getting a grip on your anxiety-driven anger and irritability:

1. Develop and practice self-awareness: If you find yourself feeling angry or irritated, observe those feelings and capture the triggers

2. Mindfulness: anchor yourself in the present moment by focusing on your breath and your surroundings. The more present we are in our body, the more present we are in our mind

3. Movement and exercise: get a natural endorphin high by getting your sweat on! I always feel calmer and more patient when I’ve done a workout, taken a walk or played a game of Pickleball

4. Talk/write about it: if something is playing on your mind, or someone is behaving in a way that triggers your anger, talk or write about it. Getting those negative feelings out/down on paper will be cathartic. Plus, you never know how the other person could respond – they might adjust their behaviours to support you

5. Go easy on yourself: occasionally feeling angry or irritated is natural. Be kind to yourself if you get angry or frustrated without meaning to. Most important is having positive intentions to do better

‘I’m writing for Anxiety UK because I know how it feels to be consumed by anxiety. I’ve learned how to manage and thrive with my anxiety, and I want to inspire others that they can do the same! I’m Nick Jemetta, 39 and a Father of two. I’m a small business owner, mental health campaigner, speaker and trainer. I thrive with anxiety and I’m on a mission to show that our mental health does not define us. An interesting fact – I’m obsessed with playing Pickleball!’

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected]  for more information.

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