The Taos News has committed to implement a bi-weekly column to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. You may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.

Dear Ted,

I find myself irritated quite often, mad that someone didn’t do something the way I would have done it, angry at the way someone else is driving and upset someone doesn’t have the same values as me are some of the embarrassing but simple ways I waste so much energy. I find this to cause me grief! I would appreciate you writing on this subject.

Thank you, Margaret

Dear Margaret,

You are absolutely right in that irritation and holding onto that irritation can be exhausting as well as the grief of decreasing your quality of life. Thank you for this very revealing topic that is like a heavy weight for so many people.

Emotional irritation is a sign that you are out of balance in some way. It is a detector system that is very important as it may save your life if there is something wrong in your outer world being sensed by your inner world.

This sense of irritation stimulates your adrenals and sets you in a fight or flight mode of action where your senses immediately go straight to the fight, flight and freeze section of your brain. This means any time there is a change, something feeling off balance, something you wish was different or anything else that causes discomfort within you; this part of the brain is activated to survive.

Your senses are always in search of safety and are highly disciplined to survive. Luckily, you have a frontal lobe which allows you to discern what is truly danger and what you can release, realize is not your business, not having an impact on the quality of your life, can be communicated from a non-fighting stance, possibly trying to control another for your convenience and comfort zone or just really has no true impact on you.

Your frontal lobe is also where you process morals, manners, values, love, connection, spirituality and other areas of mindfulness. Some people may say this is where your higher level of thinking is located.

Due to this your senses are always trying to get the head start and find anything that may cause discomfort. It takes discipline to move your thoughts to a place of love, gratitude and joy.

For example let’s say you have someone come and help you with the dishes but they didn’t put everything away where you want it to be for your comfort. The first reaction is to be angry and irritated negating the help that person gave to you.

Taking a breath and finding and appreciating the gift of help will decrease your grief. Finding ways to communicate, observe your reactions and see if they are controlling, demanding or only self-serving, will help you know if your irritation is a true need of safety or if it is something that, with discipline, can be your own work of something inside that is being projected at others.

This takes an effort and discipline that pays off in the quality of your life as well as others.

Until next time, I wish you well on your journey of healing from loss.

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