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Major irritant

Selfish children, noisy commuters… like many of us, Lizzie Enfield often finds herself stewing, and yet says nothing. Why? And how can we deal with irritation in a better way?

The person opposite me on the train is watching a film on his laptop. It’s a familiar scenario. His headphones don’t seem to work, I can hear every gunshot, shout and scream and I can’t concentrate on the notes I am reading. I feel increasingly put out by this leaking noise. The train stops for a bit; we’re waiting for a signal. I spill coffee on the cream trousers I am wearing. My body begins to tense and my mood darkens. This is so annoying! Why can’t he be more considerate? But I do nothing, keeping my negative thoughts to myself.

Irritation navigation

While I’m quietly seething, a man on the opposite side of the aisle gets up, stands over the film watcher and tells him in no uncertain terms that he’s disturbing the entire carriage. Why didn’t I do that? Why did that man feel entitled to express his anger, while I don’t? Why can’t I let it wash over me? Why do I get stuck in a spiral of irritation?

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