Fact checkedAuthor's opinion

We believe information about products and services that could benefit people should be made available to consumers to help them make informed decisions about their health care. Therefore, we try to provide accurate and reliable information by working with different fact-checkers to review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. A team of qualified and experienced fact-checkers rigorously reviewed our content before publishing it on our website. At EHproject, we rely on the most current and reputable sources cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact-checked after it has been edited and before publication.

Why Do I Snap So Easily And How To Deal With It?


Find answers to your questions about why you snap so easily and learn tips to manage your anger. Visit Blurt today.

Each article is created without any external influence. When you use our provided links to buy products, we receive a commission as an affiliate. To understand how we generate revenue, please read our advertising disclaimer.

Depression often pushes us to our limit. One moment we can feel like we are coping and then the next, we’re hit by a wave of frustration that just feels too much to handle. Even when we try our best to keep calm, our patience goes, and we snap or say things we might regret. We can be consumed by guilt and feel like we’ve failed, but in that moment, it felt like our only way of regaining control.

Why do we snap so easily?

Why do we snap so easily
Life can feel overwhelming and we find ourselves reacting in ways we might regret. Photo: Team Design

Snapping might look like reacting to something someone has said, lashing out, or having an outburst of anger. It can feel like we’re taking two steps backwards on our road to recovery. It’s easy to use this as another stick with which to beat ourselves, but learning to be compassionate with ourselves during our journey is something that will help us with our healing. 

There are many different reasons why we might snap so easily:

We’re feeling irritable

We might feel on edge, restless, frustrated, and easily annoyed by people and situations around us.

Feeling irritable causes us to experience a much smaller window of tolerance than we might have usually. This means we are short-tempered, lacking patience, and we may find ourselves snapping at situations that don’t usually bother us.

Sometimes it’s obvious why we are feeling irritable, and at other times, we might be unaware of what’s causing us to feel this way. The main thing to remember is that whatever we are feeling is always valid; feeling this way is temporary and there are ways to explain why we are feeling this way.

We’re holding onto things we haven’t been able to express

When we don’t feel safe to express how we are feeling, we bury our feelings deep inside. We may have chosen to keep these feelings safe within because of negative experiences we’ve had in the past, particularly if we’ve felt judged or discriminated against. 

This can have effects on the mind and body. Physically it can feel like our stomach is churning, our heartbeat might increase, we may shake, or even experience weakness in our legs. Not expressing ourselves might leave us feeling frustrated, resentful, or even ‘seeing red.’

Sometimes, we might not know how we are feeling – and that’s okay.

When our feelings aren’t expressed, they can end up spilling over like a boiling pot that’s not being watched. It’s no wonder we snap when our feelings have had nowhere to go.

This is an opportunity to think about what it is that we aren’t expressing. It could be that we are struggling with trauma from our past, feeling unheard, or perhaps we have needs that aren’t being met. 

We feel out of control

Each of us has a window of tolerance and this narrows when we are struggling with mental illness. When we find ourselves in a situation that feels uncertain, our mood can easily begin to spiral downwards, snapping at people and pushing them away. We feel out of control, and we don’t know how to make things better. 

Feeling out of control at times is a normal human emotion. None of us can feel in control all of the time; sometimes we make rash decisions, get things wrong, and feel guilty about our actions. 

We’re experiencing stress

Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling under pressure. Stressful life events can trigger stronger reactions in ourselves than we may be used to. Stress isn’t something that can be avoided in life, so learning to manage our reactions is important.

It’s okay if we are finding stress tricky to navigate – stress can be both a symptom and a cause of mental illnesses, so it doesn’t always feel simple to navigate. It can be much harder for us to find the positive aspects within a stressful situation, and we may become overwhelmed with where to start.

We’re not looking after ourselves

When we find ourselves snapping and losing control, our basic needs may be suffering. Our diet and sleep patterns can have a profound effect on our mood and reactions to day-to-day life, as well as our support network and internal self-talk. 

Reassessing what we need can have a huge impact on how we are feeling and how well we’re able to manage our mood. Things like exercise or gentle movement can greatly change our energy and completely shift how we’re feeling. 

When some of the usual self-care ideas feel too much, we can try taking small, manageable steps to meet our day-to-day needs. This might look like getting some fresh air, having a shower and making sure we get an early night. It’s important that we remember to be kind to ourselves – we are doing the best that we can right now.

How to deal with being snappy

The good news is that there are ways we can begin to feel more in control of our emotions so that we can cope better when we feel like we may snap:

Work out the triggers

We may or may not know the cause of our snappiness. It can be obvious such as someone making a comment that upsets us, or the frustration and helplessness we feel being left to cope with a task alone. Lifestyle factors can make us feel irritable, such as hunger, caffeine, alcohol, and stress.

Actively naming our feelings helps to take the edge off. All of a sudden we see that we are not imagining these feelings – they are real and they are valid, no matter how small or silly we might think they are. 

We could try implementing a regular practice of journaling, where we explore the things on our minds. It can be helpful to carve out time each day for this – perhaps first thing in the morning or last thing before bed.

We can pour our thoughts onto paper, or use prompts such as ‘How am I feeling today?’, or ‘How do I feel when I snap?’ 

Journaling can open us up to finding answers we didn’t know existed. The most important thing is to allow whatever comes up, to come, without any force, shame or judgement. 

Pause

When we feel like we’re about to snap, we can pause for a moment and take a deep breath. This is a great way to reconnect with ourselves and gain some space, which can help to minimise our reaction. 

Deep breathing may help symptoms of anger and depression and make us feel more relaxed. Next time we feel like we’re going to snap, we can try breathing in for a count of 4, pausing, and then exhaling for a count of 4.

Mindfulness is another technique that brings our awareness to the present moment. It helps us to separate ourselves from our thoughts by noticing them instead of judging them.

It is important to remember that our thoughts are not who we are. By becoming more self-aware, we can better cope with stress and other issues that are affecting us.

We can begin to practice mindfulness by noticing our thoughts and feelings, from what is happening around us, to the taste of our food, to how we feel. We can make this a part of our daily routine and consciously get into the habit of becoming more mindful.

Take a step away

Before we react, we can choose to step away from the situation and use this as a chance to reset. Our feelings are like a signpost for what we need, and, in this case, they could be telling us that we need a break. When we take the time to listen to and validate our feelings, we can work out what would be best for us right now. 

Stepping away might look like taking a deep breath, having a change of scene, taking a bath, listening to music, reading a book, doing some journaling, having some quiet time alone or doing something that we find enjoyable. All of these ideas can help us to reconnect with ourselves.

We are not alone

Why do we snap so easily
It can take time, but with the right support, there will be brighter days ahead. Photo: Team Design

Snapping can be unpleasant both for us and the people around us. We don’t mean to snap. If we are living with a mental illness like depression, our mood can vary daily, and sometimes we can react in ways we might not usually.

Feeling frustrated and irritable doesn’t mean we are failing. Society can make us feel as though it’s not okay to experience negative emotions. But whatever we are feeling is valid and deserves to be heard. 

Our frustrations don’t define who we are; they simply mean that we are struggling with something right now and we deserve support to figure out how we can move forward. 

Sharing with friends or family, or talking things through with a professional can help us to work through much of what is going on in our heads.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why we may snap easily. Often it isn’t one thing alone, but a culmination of life’s stresses building up that causes us to react in this way. It’s important to remember that these moments that we may later regret do not define who we are.

Our feelings can act as a signpost, guiding us towards what we need right now. Taking time to connect with our emotions, through activities such as journaling and mindfulness, will help us to become more self-aware, and better understand what we’re going through.

There are things we can try to help us to feel more empowered and in control. Our mood is greatly affected by our diet and movement, so trying to meet these needs on even the toughest of days will be hugely beneficial.

Living with a mental illness isn’t easy, and some days it takes all our strength to meet even our basic needs. But if we can look after ourselves and take small, manageable steps, we will begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.

Resource

Blurtitout employs stringent sourcing standards, using only peer-reviewed studies and academic research to ensure the accuracy of its content. For details on their editorial process, you can visit their website. This commitment to reliable sources is crucial in the health and medical fields. If you need help finding or interpreting these sources

  1. Mind.org.uk. (2023). Signs that you’re feeling angry. [online] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anger/how-anger-can-feel/.
  2. Agata Orzechowska, Zajączkowska, M., Talarowska, M. and Piotr Gałecki (2013). Depression and ways of coping with stress: A preliminary study. Medical science monitor, [online] 19, pp.1050–1056. doi:https://doi.org/10.12659/msm.889778.
  3. Zaccaro, A., Piarulli, A., Laurino, M., Garbella, E., Menicucci, D., Neri, B. and Gemignani, A. (2018). How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing. Frontiers in human neuroscience, [online] 12. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00353.
  4. Anthony, J. (2022). 7 Techniques to Tame the Fight or Flight Response | Panic and Anxiety Community Support. [online] Panic and Anxiety Community Support. Available at: https://panicandanxiety.org/self-help/7-techniques-to-tame-the-fight-or-flight-response/.
  5. NHS Choices (2024). Symptoms – Depression in adults. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/depression-in-adults/symptoms/.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kind words
for unkind days